You know what they say... never trust an organ grinder. Well... okay, they might not say that, but they should, since the sinister fellow in Elephant Games's hidden-object adventure Chimeras: Tune of Revenge isn't just turning that crank for coins. When the mayor pays up to receive a fortune that ends the worst possible way (you know, being set on fire), the entire town flies into a panic that isn't helped much by the dangerous, mythical beasts suddenly stalking the streets. But hey, luckily for them, you happened to be there to investigate an older crime, and you can handle a dragon or Cerberus or three, right?... what? Oh, that? That's just the Specter of Death himself, dear, I'm sure everything's going to be fine!
Don't expect much help from the citizens. Turns out that thirteen years ago something happened in town that the organ grinder is holding everyone responsible for, and the monsters are exacting that vengeance in some seriously grim, poetic fashion. Is our villain really just a villain with a flair for the overdramatic? Or is there something else going on? You'll be the one to find out, provided the beasts don't turn on you. Click around to gather items and solve puzzles, rooting through sparkly hidden-object scenes for more help. Early on, you'll gain a special fiery friend that can be used in certain situations to reach things you can't or take care of danger. Just... try not to spread around the fact that you both gave a mythical beast a dorky name and then use it for menial labour, since I'm pretty sure there are hundreds of enraged teenage girls out there who would tell you you're wasting it.
Analysis: Chimeras: Tune of Revenge is one of those flashy, unexpectedly fun and creative games that is a joy to play through and see what it comes up with next. Though the production values aren't as high as certain other Elephant Games titles, and in fact the soundtrack is queerly silent at times, the design is absolutely beautiful. The monsters are definitely the stars of the show, with their gorgeous flamboyant designs, but surprisingly the story manages to snare early on as well. I mean... don't go expecting Stephen King or even Dean Koontz, but when most hidden-object adventures tend to be so cookie-cutter straightforward, using their story as an excuse rather than a reason to play, it's always wonderful to see a game that tries to keep you interested, and figuring out the truth behind our suspicious organ grinder and why he feels the townsfolk deserve such horrific fates is a great motivator.
Gameplay is mostly, however, devoid of surprises. It's nice that whenever you try to use the wrong item to solve a puzzle the game will at least give you a plausible excuse as to why it wouldn't work, but you're still just gathering up an assortment of suspiciously convenient junk and using them to overcome overcomplicated obstacles. Most of the puzzles fare the same, though their flashy presentations go a long way towards earning forgiveness for their familiar concepts. The end result is a perfectly casual but also perfect fun hidden-object adventure that goes out of its way to try to put unique spins on its story in a way that few others bother with, piling on the monsters and mystery for a solid evening of adventure and peril.
A Collector's Edition is also available. It contains a bonus chapter, art gallery, strategy guide, and more. Remember that Big Fish Game Club Members pay only $13.99 for Collector's Editions (or 2 club credits), and collector's editions count 3 card punches of 6 total needed for a free game.