Dark Dimensions: Somber Song
According to Daily Magic Productions, Dark Dimensions are places on earth where extreme suffering has left an actual psychic wound that taints and warps the landscape. So any theater that played I, Frankenstein must be an absolute miasma of agony, amirite? Heh, but seriously, this game is about dead stuff. Specifically, hidden-object adventure Dark Dimensions: Somber Song is about a town where seven children, all musical prodigies, were consumed in a deadly fire. You're just passing through when a frantic pounding at your hotel room door (that you have to find a key before you can unlock, because reasons) wakes you up just long enough to see a terrified little girl being whisked away by an evil dark smoke... which apparently has also put the whole panicked town into lockdown. Too bad for it, you have a PhD in... uh... smoke... hrm... how exactly does one toss off a witty one-liner physical threat at a supernatural embodiment of human suffering?
For the most part, Somber Song is a very by-the-book example of the genre, as you solve puzzles, hunt for clues, and gather items. The hidden-object scenes tend to be set up as a chain of puzzles, which is nice compared to the usual junk pile search, and takes some of the sting out of it when they repeat. It is not, unfortunately, what you'd call challenging in the slightest, and for a lot of players, how fast they'll find themselves blurring through it without having to resort to the hint or skip functions, or even the map, will be a bit of a turn-off. Which is a shame, since despite not feeling like it's even trying to trip you up, Somber Song is actually really enjoyable. It's constantly throwing new twists and cutscenes at you as you explore the lavishly illustrated environments, and even manages to execute a few well-done jump scares. The brisk pace makes this one shorter than others, but the intuitive design and simple gameplay keeps you engaged the whole time.
It actually feels as though it might, both in story and gameplay, be the most simplistic of the series, and compared to the stunning artwork the animated cutscenes are... uh... kind of... not stunning, which interferes with the mood. At the same time, however, Somber Song's design and cinematic appeal will make it the perfect choice for players who really are looking for a horror-lite adventure that's a fit for a casual evening's enjoyment. As you explore the town, naturally you discover that the fire that swept the music school all those years ago may not have been an accident, and even as the ghostly spirits of the children seem to be trying to help you uncover the truth, the dark smoke and something even more dangerous works actively to bar your way. A little campy? Sure. But Dark Dimensions: Somber Song is a snappy, fun game that makes up for its brevity and lack of ingenuity by being all-around well designed. Plus, the first item you can pick up is some breakfast toast sausage. If that right there doesn't scream "game with its priorities straight", I don't know what does.
Note: Currently, only the Collector's Edition is 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.