The Search for Lost Treasure
A follow-up to the 2008 hit Escape the Museum, Gogii Games' Adventure Chronicles: The Search for Lost Treasure continues to bend the hidden object/adventure barrier with a captivating game of inventory puzzles and interactive scenery. You play Dr. Susan Anderson, an archaeologist who receives a treasure hunter's journal and embarks on quests to find new pieces for her museum. The slick visuals paired with an impeccable presentation and strong puzzle design make it a solid entry in the cross-genre adventure wars.
As with most hidden object games, you immediately find yourself facing a crowded room packed full of items from A to Z. A list on the right side of the screen shows you what needs to be found, but Adventure Chronicles: The Search for Lost Treasure doesn't let you off with simple pointing and clicking. A good number of hotspots can be found in each scene, each one requiring a special action to complete the mini-puzzle contained within. These often open new areas to explore or uncover hidden items you've been tearing your hair out to find.
Two sub-menus include Tools and Items screens that hold important objects you find while working your way down the list. Many of these items will be used to find other items, such as using a hammer to smash pots and vases (and randomly hitting objects just for the fun of it) to uncover new clues.
Fortunately, you're never confined to just one scene and can travel to and from a number of areas via mini-map. Items and tools you find often carry over between stages, opening up the world of backtracking to make solving puzzles all the more interesting.
Analysis: Visually pleasing and with a good soundtrack to match, Adventure Chronicles: The Search for Lost Treasure retains the high production values of its predecessor while treading new ground with its inventory-based puzzle-centric approach to gameplay. It's a good balance of hidden object gameplay and good old fashioned adventuring.
The experience is a bit brief, weighing in at five areas each consisting of a handful of scenes to explore. Shorter than your average hidden object or adventure game, but it doesn't come across as too abrupt. And one thing I just can't get over is the heavy use of choppy artwork in the cutscenes, made worse by the game's tendency to zoom in on these pieces.
Adventure Chronicles: The Search for Lost Treasure sticks to its guns and provides an intriguing adventure without any amount of fluff. No mini-games to contend with, a story that's fun but that doesn't take itself too seriously, and puzzles that are just too interesting not to solve. The little "active" touches like smashing pots with a hammer and dusting off shelves liven up the game considerably, lightening the mood just when you're in too deep. It's an excellent casual adventure/hidden object cross that just about anyone will enjoy.