Snark Busters: Welcome to the Club is a new hidden object game from Alawar. If you're tired of dime novel-quality storylines, cheesy settings that go from haunted mansion to haunted castle and back, and protagonists whose missing family members you couldn't care less about, this game is your savior. Snark Busters doesn't pretend to be anything new and original, but by doing that, it succeeds at both. It's a hidden object game with wide appeal, enticing fans of the genre and encouraging everyone else to hop in and give the genre a try!
Kira, a young woman with a mischievous streak of curiosity, stole the inspector's hat on a dare from one of her friends. As a result, her father locked her in her room. Kira isn't one to take a locked window at face value, and soon she discovers not only a way out, but an entire universe hiding in her mirror. This gives way to a new quest of grand proportions: the hunt for the elusive Snark.
Instead of dumping lists of items in front of your face to find, Snark Busters is built around pieces of items. At the bottom of your screen is an inventory bar with a few slots. In some of the slots are silhouettes of items that have been sliced into sections. Your job is to find these pieces stashed amongst the scenery. As you would expect, the shards are rotated and scaled about and placed in devious locations, so you won't always be able to find them with ease. But it wouldn't be much of a game if it was all piled up and neatly labeled from the get-go, would it?
Once you assemble an item, it's time to use it! Certain objects in the level can be opened, moved, or otherwise interacted with. A vase, for example, would be a great thing to use with that hammer you just put together. Performing these little tasks reveal more item shards you need, open up new places to explore, or progress the story bit by bit.
Analysis: Hooray for something different! Snark Busters: Welcome to the Club takes little pieces from other hidden object games and puts them together in a fine new way. We're all familiar with finding pieces of items, using items to finish puzzles, and completing mini-games from time to time. The difference is Snark Busters never makes any of this a chore. It's one of those games that makes you want to put an exclamation mark after its title. It's pure whimsy, unapologetically light-hearted, and nothing but an extended spell of time-wasting relaxation. It doesn't try to wow you with a grand story, fantastic new gimmicks, or even ground-breaking visuals. It just tries to entertain you, and that it accomplishes very, very well.
One part adventure, one part hidden object game, Snark Busters tends to feel a little lopsided at the beginning of each area. A good 80% of the items you'll need to find are strangely obvious, almost as if they were put there so you could get that rush of clicking a dozen things in a row. After that, it's time to scour the scene for the remaining pieces, something that often feels a little too difficult.
The hint system, while generous in its use and quick to recharge, has the uncanny ability to always point out the object you need the least. Got one more slice of that lantern to find? Too bad, the hint system wants you to grab that rake handle. You'll never really get stuck, though, as it's always just a matter of time before a new hint is at your disposal.
Snark Busters: Welcome to the Club is pure entertainment. From its mild steampunk setting to the childlike tasks you complete, you'll be driven to keep playing the game from beginning to end.