Mortimer Beckett and the
Hungry for a great-looking adventure/puzzle game? Mortimer Beckett and the Time Paradox is your greasy bag of delicious potato chips. Which... is a good thing! A follow-up to the original Mortimer Beckett and the Secrets of Spooky Manor, this installment features a wonderfully imaginative visual presentation that fits snugly on top of a puzzle-centric hidden object/adventure body.
A time portal in Mortimer's uncle's house has opened, allowing modern-day objects to pass through to locations across the globe and throughout history. As the wide-eyed hero, it's your job to travel back and gather the items to set things right. Making matters more difficult, items that passed through the portals have been split into pieces, so instead of hunting for whole objects, you have to find shards and piece them together. Uncle Jerome's Time Bomb was also lost to the portals, so you'll need to find and assemble those pieces so you can close the portals once and for all.
The game is divided into areas that are situated on a series of small rendered maps. Within each time period you can travel between these scenes, solving puzzles and collecting items as you go along. There are eight settings in all, ranging from the "ordinary" (a pub filled with vikings) to the strange (Big Ben in the Nile River?!). The overworld maps lets you see at a glance how many items are left to find and how many puzzles still need to be solved. Once you complete them all, you'll gain access to the portal and move on to a new area.
The puzzles are what make Mortimer Beckett and the Time Paradox so interesting to play. Certain hotspots in each scene make the cursor turn into a set of moving gears, alerting you that one of the items you piece together fits here. For example, in the first area you'll eventually put together a group of pigs which, naturally, fits with the lone pig standing in one of the scenes. Not every puzzle is this logical, but because each item only works with one puzzle, you won't have a rough time completing them all.
Analysis: Cheery, whimsical, and a bit campy from time to time. Mortimer Beckett and the Time Paradox is a light-hearted adventure game that doesn't take itself too seriously. The hidden object aspect is watered-down enough so anyone will enjoy it, and the puzzles are just tough enough to make you think for a second. Couple that with no time clock and no penalty for mis-clicks and you have the makings of a "kick back and relax" casual adventure game.
On the less cheery side, Mortimer Beckett and the Time Paradox often defaults to blind luck when it comes to finding items. Locating full objects would be challenging enough on its own, but when you don't even know the shape of what you're seeking, it becomes a frustrating matter of pixel scrutinizing. Looking for a piece of the wood pile in your inventory? Scan for brownish things. Half the time those brownish things are mostly concealed by other scenery, which leads to even more frustration. Fortunately the in-game hint system is unlimited and refills in just a few seconds, so you'll probably be using it every time it becomes available.
Despite missing the mark on how to hide objects. Mortimer Beckett and the Time Paradox delivers a great casual puzzle adventure experience.