Weekend Download №14

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Weekend Download

JohnBThree new hidden object games have recently hit the web, each one with a different setting and storyline wrapped around familiar seek-and-find mechanics. From pirates to wizards to messy family homes there's no shortage of variety in theme! Unlike games such as Azada and Forgotten Riddles, these titles don't try bending the item-hunting mechanics too much and instead opt for entertaining settings and unique mini-games. If you're one of the many people who can't get enough of these games, these should keep you busy (and entertained) for a while!

thescruffs.jpgThe Scruffs (Windows, 48MB, demo) - Certainly the quirkiest of the lot, The Scruffs hidden object game enlists you to save the Scruffs' family home from being sold. Grandpa Scruff's solution is an elaborate scavenger hunt around the home to uncover valuable artifacts. Grandpa also reveals he's hiding a shocking family secret! The presentation is top-notch and features great voice talent along with smooth animation and nice music. The chapter-based storyline keeps the plot moving while your eyes keep searching the game's 20 different scenes. It's a much more light-hearted take on the item hunting genre, and the presentation is loads of fun, so you won't lose interest in this game anytime soon.

abracademy.jpgAbra Academy: Returning Cast (Windows, 75MB, demo) - In a setting that gives more than a few nods to the Harry Potter novels, Abra Academy is set in a wizard's school under attack by mysterious creatures. The story is told through cut-scenes that break up the intense eyeball item hunting action. The scenery is remarkably imaginative and a treat to look at as well. Unfortunately the difficulty isn't very high and experienced item hunters will likely breeze through the 25 levels in this title. With the wizard setting and more forgiving gameplay, however, Abra Academy is a great choice for the kids.

pirateville.jpgPirateville (Windows, 25MB, demo) - Pirateville puts you in the sea-shoes of Sharpshooter Jack, a pirate who has more than a little lust for gold. Searching for the greatest treasure in the land, Jack travels from location to location talking to natives and gathering clues. The scenes and mini-games are well-integrated into Pirateville's storyline, which is a nice change of pace from the rather plotless item hunters of yore. In the end, Pirateville is an adventurous take on the hidden item genre with a fun set of tasks to complete across 33 stages and an enjoyable storyline.


Even though these are all great picks, I'd actually suggest The Scruffs more than all of them. Much better presentation and pacing than the other two. Pirateville is too similar to Magic Academy in terms of layout and scenes.

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Don't we have enough of this hidden object games already?

Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed Mystery Case Files immensely, especially the last one with those hidden door puzzles and all. It was a fresh and interesting concept then. Hidden Expedition was pretty awful though, but still held some charm. Magician's apprentice showed signs of wear and tear, and that Maya one with riddles was simply attrocious in its hamfisted eagerness to introduce something "new"..

..and now this. Well I don't know about you, but for me enough is enough. There is really so many minutes of your life you can spend on pixel hunting for items, and if I'm doing it, I'd rather see it as a part of an interesting point-and-click adventure.

These kind of games only show that today's game designers are quite satisfied with rehashing one concept to oblivion rather then trying out something new. The players who give money for those games should perhaps show them enough is enough.

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I'm with you, baba44713. I am totally satiated with hidden object games, and yet they continue to reign in popularity with casual gamers around the world.

It seems hidden object games are the new match-3.

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I hope there's room for everyone's preferences. I enjoy hidden object games but never go near some other popular game types like Grow or Tower Defense. I expected to be bored to death during the recent ball physics competition, but I played most of the entries and actually enjoyed a lot of them.

Having spoken up for hidden objects, I must admit that The Scruffs was disappointing. Too many objects were impossible to see in dark corners or at the bottom of the screen, even with the very unhelpful "hints" from that annoying dog. I downloaded the Pirateville demo but couldn't get it to open. First time I've had a problem with Big Fish -- I may try again another time.

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Anonymous October 23, 2007 6:11 PM

I really liked the demo of The Scruffs! It's one of the few demos I've downloaded of which I'd consider buying the full version.

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I agree, some things just don't look like they do anymore.
I think theres been enough hating going around to these hidden object games. Get MCF: Madame Fate, maybe through JIG (the banner ad doesn't seem to work). It's really an amazing game in comparison to other games like Pirateville, which I also had crashing problems with.

The only other game which is fun I'd say would be Agatha Christie Death On The Nile. I'm only buying some games for my 50+ mother who adores games like these anyways. But some games like Hidden Expedition Everest and Val'Gor are really good finds.

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