It seems like every casual game that comes out lately is an adventure/hidden object hybrid, possibly involving something supernatural. But what is a gamer to do when they don't want to deal with all of that wandering around or ghostly presences? What can they do if all they want is a lot of hidden object finding interspersed with some fun mini-games? Well, they should check out Boomzap's Antique Road Trip 2: Homecoming wherein they will find all of the hidden object madness they could possibly want and more.
Antique Road Trip 2: Homecoming is the story of a young couple, Grace and James, their newborn son Colin and their amazingly cute puppy. In the original Antique Road Trip USA they spent a ton of time traveling around the country, finding and selling antiques to fix up their own lovely antique store. Now all they want is a break, so they head to Montana to visit Grace's parents and enjoy some long-awaited relaxation. Pity that Grace's parents decided to go and get an antique store of their own. And, of course, they need some help with it.
Grace and James take turns traveling around Montana, Wisconsin, and the Louisiana/Mississippi area scouting out locations and selling antiques to impatient customers. This is where Antique Road Trip 2 parts ways with most classic hidden object games. Rather than a large list of items to find the player must deal with customers who enter in small groups, each wanting one or more items in the area. Each customer is on a timer and the longer it takes to find the item the less patience they have (and the less money you make). Once a customer leaves you can take his or her money and watch them get replaced with another customer with another demand. And sometimes they won't outright let you know what they want, instead they will feed you a series of hints and you will have to figure out what item they really need.
If the madness of playing a hidden object game crossed with a time management game wasn't enough, Boomzap has ramped up the difficulty by creating several layers of gameplay within one scene. There are areas that, if you find them, can be clicked to find hidden stashes of stuff that customers need. There are other areas that also have hidden stashes, but first you must figure out how to unlock them and find the tools to do so. You might need to find a ladder in order to reach a loft, for instance, or have to tranquilize a lioness in order to steal her gold tooth. No, not kidding. Towards the end you will get customers with specialty orders that require you to find multiples of an object (stamps, cards, etc.) which, when you try to put them together, trigger mini-games inside the hidden object scene. All of this is happening, of course, while more customers are coming in and making more demands.
Items that the customer request will be in white text if it is readily available and visible in the scene, green text if it is hidden somewhere in the scene, and in red text if it is one of the aforementioned multiples. That cute puppy the couple adopted (which is one of several breeds that you can choose at the beginning) is also a refilling hint feature. And hidden within the cluttered scenes are little dog bones which, if found, make his refilling timer refill immediately. Occasionally there are also rounds where you just find multiples of one thing, like cute kittens or frisky puppies. And between scenes you can go back to the antique shop and spruce it up by buying the trophies and other items that you have found along the way, until it is bright and spiffy and filled with antique goodness.
Analysis: It's nice to take a break from the spooky adventure hybrids and just enjoy some hidden object finding without all of the story and angst. Pure hidden object gaming has sort of taken a back seat to adventuring these days, and it's nice to see finding random objects and mini-games come front and center again, especially for those tired of wandering to and fro in search of...well, whatever it is.
Boomzap has taken the time to make Antique Road Trip 2: Homecoming quite an enjoyable ride, from the lovely graphics to the amusing sound effects whenever you find a live animal inside the hidden object scenes. The mini-games, although familiar, are fun and challenging twists on classic match-3, hidden match 2, jigsaw puzzles, etc. The hidden object scenes are bright and colorful, the cut-scenes and dialogue are amusing and thankfully short, and there are a lot of fun details to be found within this amusing game. One of the best is the ability to collect pieces of wardrobe for your cute little canine companion so you can dress him up as an aviator, as Uncle Sam, and many others.
If you like hidden object gaming but don't want the time management elements the game comes with two modes: timed and untimed. For those who just want to relax and take their time the untimed mode is perfect, and for those looking for a challenge then go for the timed mode and deal with the increasingly fractious customers as you hunt for their treasures. With the choice of playing modes and the amusing, family-friendly storyline Antiques Road Trip 2: Homecoming is casual gameplay that is fun for all ages, if what you are looking for is fun of the finding objects kind.