Doesn't it always happen this way? You discover your ancestor had an ancient castle, only the thing is going to be sold in nine days. It's downright discouraging!
Fortunately, in Hidden in Time: Mirror Mirror, you've been given the nine days to go through the castle. Maybe you can find something that proves this castle is yours? Although it's hard to see why you'd want it—the place is riddled with the kinds of objects that only exist in hidden object games, and the objects in Mirror Mirror can be weird even for the genre. Who has a rocking bear? Not a rocking horse. A rocking bear. Apparently, the eccentric Fairwiches do.
The Fairwiches also have a family curse. The story goes that the Duke and Duchess were approached by a gypsy with a magic mirror which she said would reveal the right man for their daughter Marion, but that if the Duke disobeyed, a terrible curse would fall upon them. The Duke agreed to this. When the Duke looked into the mirror, the mirror told him that happiness would be brought to all if Marion married the maid's son, Jack. Forgetting all that "horrible curse death decay mayhem ill-fitting shoes" stuff, the Duke refused to condone the match—and the story will soon reveal that the Duke "died face down in his salad". What a way to go.
Aside from the hidden object finding scenes which make up the bulk of the gameplay, Mirror Mirror includes three mini-games which repeat between levels: a spot-the-difference scene, a game where you have to rotate mirrors to reflect light at a target, and a rotation puzzle where you have to turn pieces of a painting in order to reveal the next message. The latter two puzzles can get repetitive rather quickly, but the spot-the-difference sections may be the most fun part of the game. The two scenes are mirrored, so you can use the cross-eyed trick to solve them, and the art in these sections may be the finest in the game.
Feel free to use hints the second you get stuck because the game practically throws them at you. Every mirrored scene contains three hint tokens to find, and you get a hint token for completing the other two mini-games as well, plus when you move to the next level your hints are refilled.
Analysis: As the quote indicates, Mirror Mirror has a definite yet understated sense of humor about itself. If you click on certain objects such as horses or dogs that aren't on your hidden object list, they might bark, squeal, neigh, or make other noises. Lots of these games try too hard to be funny and fail, so it's nice to see a game that understands that over-the-top puns are not the key to laughter.
On the other hand, humor deflates tension, and the tension in this game never really gets high enough to warrant deflating. Although the atmospheric music is subtly spooky and never gets repetitive, even if you play the entire game in two sessions like I did, you never really have a sense that you are in danger or that what you're investigating might have a scary or unhappy end. In fact the whole experience is rather relaxing.
In fact the biggest way I can think to improve this game would be to ratchet up the humor even more. Mirror Mirror comes right up to the fourth wall at times; it would have been nice to see it smash it, maybe by lamp-shading some of the tropes of hidden object games that we all accept but that are rather ridiculous in themselves. For example, the scariest thing in many horror-ish hidden object games isn't the music, the flitting ghosts at the edge of the screen, or the threat of imminent death—it's that the same inanimate objects seem to be following you around, and that rooms are never the same as you left them. Is that giraffe statue following me? Eek! I'm sure that mantelpiece did not have a tropical fish on it before!
Hidden in Time: Mirror Mirror won't keep you on the edge of your seat, but it is a fun romp through hidden object land that would be perfect for those times when you just want a little relaxing amusement.