Awakening 2: Moonfell Wood
Just like its predecessor, Awakening: The Dreamless Castle, Awakening 2: Moonfell Wood bills itself as a hidden object adventure, but it plays more like a fairy tale puzzle adventure with hidden object mini-games. That's to say, you won't spend too much time looking for objects from a list, but you'll spend plenty of time picking up items and learning how to use them to progress through the game.
The young princess Sophia awakens from a 100 year long slumber to find everyone has disappeared. She immediately sets out to locate them, assisted by a shy fairy friend who emerges from a flower. The fairy guides Sophia along the way, pointing her in the right direction and functioning as a hint dispenser at the bottom of the screen. Just click her whenever you're in doubt!
Most of Awakening 2: Moonfell Wood centers around solving short puzzles using the environment or things from your inventory. To cross a river in a leaf boat, for example, you might need a paddle. All you can find is one piece of it, though, so it's off to search for a handle and something to bind it together with. Once you locate everything, assembling the oar is a simple point-and-click affair, just like the rest of the game. All you have to do is engage in a bit of thinking and some light experimentation.
The mini-games are numerous and interesting in Awakening 2: Moonfell Wood. You'll swap tiles to form pictures, rotate circles to unlock boxes, play a game of cards, and of course, the hidden object scenes, which are extraordinarily well done. There are even mini-hidden object scenes where you must find several of one item in the card's artwork, which is a simple but brilliant gimmick!
Analysis: We've come to expect our games to look great nowadays, and Awakening 2: Moonfell Wood doesn't disappoint. It doesn't go the route of hyper-expensive artwork, opting instead for a gorgeous fairy tale setting, complete with fantasy art galore. The card mini-games (and anything that is supposed to look "drawn") really pop out in my mind after playing the game, as their images are truly striking.
Awakening 2: Moonfell Wood is a linear game, and you won't have a tough time working through to the end. You can choose between Casual and Normal modes from the beginning, the former allowing more hints and a more frequent appearance of goals. It's not about the challenge, though, it's about experiencing this world and falling for the excellent puzzles and mini-games.
Awakening 2: Moonfell Wood is a great follow-up to the original game and manages to continue the story and set-up without faltering. The setting and mini-games are two high points of the experience, and everything else wraps the package up in a game you really won't mind completing!