Lost Souls: Enchanted Paintings
A friendly reminder from your internet pals: if a mysterious painting of a spooky old castle appears on your doorstep late one night, do not let your child hang it in his or her room. Mischievous things are bound to happen, and not the sort of madcap adventures one would find in an episode of Scooby Doo. Lost Souls: Enchanted Paintings, from Fenomen Games, tells the story of a missing boy who suffers the unfortunate fate of getting sucked into a painting. His mother, Bella, will do anything to get him back, including enlisting the help of some otherwordly friends.
Lost Souls: Enchanted Paintings is a "mostly adventure but sometimes there are hidden object scenes" game. You play the role of Bella who must enter a series of paintings to rescue her son. Within each painting you'll find a world, complete with a map that has a number of places you can visit. The game allows you to travel from zone to zone, picking up items you might need and using them in different locations. It's quite a bit of fun to scoot around these lushly-drawn scenes and scrutinize the environment for things you can use!
Hidden object scenes are fairly common and feature a short laundry list of items to find. Apart from those, you'll also do quite a bit of investigating to find items scattered around the main part of the game. Using objects from your inventory is key to solving most puzzles, and with a bit of logic any clever casual gamer can determine how to use a shovel to clear off some snow hiding a neat little shining item below!
Analysis: Lost Souls: Enchanted Paintings goes well beyond the norm to create a lush world that resembles a painted fairytale. The music is sort of stilted in areas and doesn't quite fit the mood, but the images on your screen are so vivid, you honestly won't pay the soundtrack much attention. It's all about pretty colors and bright pictures.
One aspect of Lost Souls that can't be ignored is how user-friendly this game is. Every aspect of the interface was sculpted to make it easier to play, from solid click mechanics to well-grounded puzzles and hidden object scenes that never toss logic out the door. Click detection is unusually precise, something that can be a nuisance in some hidden object games. Here, though, it works surprisingly well, encouraging you to take your time and be thorough in your investigations instead of just wildly flogging the mouse button until you reach the end.
Lost Souls falls on the short side of the hidden object game length scale, clocking in at just over three hours for an average player. The diminished size is largely due to the game's low level of difficulty. Puzzles and quests are interesting, but they don't really go the extra step required to make them challenging. It's fun pecking around to find out what goes where, but you won't feel it necessary to hit the hint button very often.
Simple and effortless to play, Lost Souls: Enchanted Paintings delivers exactly what a casual hidden object game should deliver: satisfying gameplay and lush visuals. No gimmicks to get in the way, just a good (if short) casual adventure game to help pass the evening.
A Collector's Edition is also available. It contains exclusive wallpapers, concept art, a bonus free roam mode, and an in-game strategy guide. 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.