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I'm a fan of hidden object games and had this one recommended to me by a friend. I picked it up on CD for PC in a game shop new for £5. It is a bigfishgames game so is also available on their website to download. A free trial version is available or you can get the full version for $2.99.
I think for this price it is good value as you can set up various profiles so several players can play the game without intefering with anyone elses game. Once installed on your PC, you do not need to insert the disc each time.
I find some hidden object can get repetitive but thought this was one of the better ones, the graphics are good and the characters when you click to talk of them are actual films of actors speaking (the acting is terrible but it's quite amusing).
I only played the game on normal mode but there are 3 choices:
Normal - For the average, normal, everyday player.
Southern - For players looking for an authentic Seep South experience.
Snarky - For players who appreciate a good insult between friends.
You can change the volume of the talking, music and environments and also select subtitles which I always do as I sometimes turn he volume off if I want to play and watch something on television at the same time.
If you are playing without sound however, you do need to pay attention as certain phone calls can give you information which you may not be able to get any further without.
Throughout the game you have access to a map and case report reminding you of what you have done and what you are doing now.
PLAYING THE GAME
Your cursor is a small arrow which turns into a magnifying glass when pointed near something of interest, when it is a magnifying glass you will get information on the item which may be of no use or may give you a hint that you will need later on.
The cursor turns into a larger arrow when near doors or areas which you can proceed to.
The Objective box on the screen shows which items you are looking for, this starts with looking for pieces of a map and some tape to tape the pieces together with.
Items found will move from the objective box and into your inventory.
You may need to find items not in the inventory to get the parts you need, for example one piece of the map is in the dog bowl which the dog will not let you near. Clicking on a painting it says you can feel something behind it so you may need other items such as food to distract the dog and a knife to cut behind the painting.
You can move to various rooms around the manor, clicking on the refrigerator in the kitchen will then give you a written list of objects to find (their fridge is worse than mine, containing objects such as a remote control, a phone and glasses). When you have found all of the items on the list you will be rewarded with an item placed in your inventory for later use.
Click on everything you see, even if it seems of no use the first time you are in the room, there may be something of use later in the game.
Hints are available if you get stuck, it then takes time for the hint meter to fill back up again but there doesn't seem to be a limit on the number of hints you can get. There's a few tricky puzzles which allow you to skip the puzzle or get a hint.
Towards the end of the game you will need to access the case file to find out dates and symbols which you will need to unlock gates etc.
The story is based in a manor which Mr and Mrs Dawson and their daughter Magnolia recently inherited. Mr Dawson has disappeared and you are there to gather clues and help to find him. Other characters include Mr and Mrs Lee who live in the carriage house, she is the cleaner and he is the gardener.
There are other characters you will meet along the way including Cooter, a neighbour with a shotgun who doesn't like strangers and his wife Charlotte who collects scary dolls.
There is also the man from the library, the bartender in the tavern and Madam Aimee from the Voodoo store.
Most people think the house is cursed or haunted and this could be the reason for Mr Dawson's disappearance. Most of the characters have never seen Mr. Dawson and think something suspicious is going on.
Locations include a kitchen, bedrooms, closet, music room, wine cellar, bathroom and living room inside the manor and a shed outside.
A tavern in the town, bar, kitchen, exterior.
Service station, Cooters house, Voodoo store, swamp, graveyard and more.
The game doesn't get dull as it isn't the same scenes over and over and it isn't too simple. If something is broken, chances are you'll have to find a way of fixing it. It something is locked, you'll need to find a key, if something is dirty you'll have to find something to clean it with. Some of the items you receive may puzzle you but they will all fit into place eventually. The puzzles vary in difficulty with a mixture between the normal listed hidden object screens and others where you may need to pick up objects along the way.
Overall, I really enjoyed the game, after a few saves and going back and forth to the game my final time was around 6 hours. I have to admit I skipped a few puzzles and got a few hints though so if you wanted to do it without any help it might take quite a bit longer. I'd play the game again to see what the other modes are like and to try and beat my time. I would recommend this if you can pick it up for a decent price.