Azada: In Libro
Remember Titus? Sure you do, he's that dummy who got himself trapped in a magic book his malevolent uncle left lying around. Then he called on you to help free a library from an evil genie who was ruining the classic stories contained within. It's been a few years, but Titus is back in the latest (and greatest) installment of the Azada series of adventure/hidden object hybrids, Azada: In Libro. That darned evil uncle is trying to take over the magical land of Azada once again, and this time it's personal!
While the original Azada was basically a ton of puzzles strung together with a bare-bones story, and Azada: Ancient Magic played like a series of small self-contained room escapes taking place within classic tales, Azada: In Libro is a fully realized point-and-click adventure within the land of Azada itself. Titus' evil uncle is once again attempting to take over Azada, attacking the three guardians of the land who hold the three keys which are, well, the key to getting in. What said uncle doesn't seem to realize is the fact that if Azada falls, so does the real world. Or, maybe he does know and just doesn't care in his bid for power. Titus has called upon you to enter the realm of Azada and rescue the three guardians before his uncle can get his grubby mitts on them.
Azada: In Libro plays like a true adventure hybrid with a changing cursor, navigation arrows, a clue notebook, and the works. A bottom-loading inventory keeps track of the multiple items you will pick up along the way, most of them needed to activate the multitude of mini-games and puzzles hidden within the scenery. With few hidden object scenes and no lists, Azada: In Libro plays more like a classic point-and-click adventure than a hybrid. There are three modes of play included: Casual, which includes the usual refilling hint-timer, sparkles to indicate areas of interest, and the occasional text hint when an item is clicked on; Advanced, which keeps the refilling timer (it just refills slower) and the text hints, but loses the sparkles; and Hard, which has neither sparkles nor text hints, and the refilling timer is extremely slow to reactivate.
Analysis: It's been a long, long time (nearly 4 years) since Azada last enchanted us with its beautiful graphics and wicked puzzle-solving, and the time was very well spent indeed. Azada: In Libro has made the leap to full adventure story and wandering around the enchanted worlds of Azada is definitely time well spent. Lots of effort has gone into ramping up the gameplay, especially the adventure portion of the game.
Most of the focus in Azada: In Libro is still on the puzzle solving, with puzzles and mini-games popping up everywhere you turn. In addition to the usual suspects of jigsaws, sliders, and the like effort has been made to create original and challenging games as well. Everything, games, puzzles, the occasional hidden object elements, are wrapped up in the gorgeous graphics which change in tone as you move further and further into the fantasy world of Azada. The lovely music is the perfect accompaniment as you rush to keep Titus' uncle from destroying everything in his evil quest.
Although not as long as it could be, Azada: In Libro is still a pretty hefty adventure quest incorporating a lot of amusing brain-teasers along the way. The only thing missing is, perhaps, the wonder of wandering through so many different fantasy worlds as in Azada: Ancient Magic. Here you are confined to only three, which is tiny let-down after the vast variety available in Ancient Magic. This is a minor quibble, however, as the locations in Azada: In Libro are stunning in their own right. And despite being marketed as a hybrid, there are very few hidden object elements to be found in the three worlds, which might be disappointing those who really enjoy that sort of thing.
Try the rest of the Azada series:
For anyone who enjoys adventuring, though, Azada: In Libro is definitely a must have game. The three modes of play guarantee a gaming experience which can be enjoyed by a wide variety of skill levels, and the beauty and wonder of Azada itself is definitely worth the visit. Get ready to help Titus and defeat that evil uncle once again!
A Collector's Edition is also available. It includes concept art, wallpapers, the music, screensavers, and extra gameplay. 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.
Mac OS X:
Also available: Collector's Edition