Guardians of Hope
Just when you thought secret societies were a thing of the past (literally, ha!), World-Loom brings them back to you in full force in their hidden-object adventure hybrid, Dark Heritage: Guardians of Hope. With some unique visuals and a good puzzle-to-hidden-object-scene ratio, Dark Heritage will have you feeling like Tom Hanks as you chase down a mysterious killer. You know, if Tom Hanks were a woman.
Professor Child has contacted you about helping him put together a special medallion. He thinks he's found the Philosopher's Stone and needs your wits to assist him in his search. Unfortunately, when you get to his office, he's nowhere to be found. What's happened to him? You travel to the United Kingdom to get to the small, desolate Cannon Rock Island to seek him out. It's prophesies and magical spirits for you as you get to the truth of the island's past.
Dark Heritage's controls work as most hidden-object hybrids do: click to interact with an area, a changing cursor will indicate what kind of interaction is available and sparkles appear (in both difficulties) to showcase a hidden-object scene. All objects needed will be listed at the bottom. Items in red require extra actions to reveal them, those actions indicated by a changing cursor over the scene. For many of the puzzles in the game, you have to find missing parts, which are found in other locations. While you can often interact with the puzzle beforehand, the exact instructions for the puzzle will not appear until all the missing items have been put back.
Analysis: World-Loom has made an interesting experience with their unique mix of graphics. While most of the game is drawn in the way of many similar titles, Dark Heritage also includes live action cut scenes as well as a few mixed scenes that are reminiscent of Return to Zork. But behind the graphics there still lies a solid game with 3-4 hours of play in the standard edition.
What is uniquely offered in graphics seems to have taken away from the story. There's little mystery in what's going on and the main villain leaves a distinctly nondescript taste in your mouth making it seem more like you're traveling puzzle to puzzle instead of fighting him in the end. Despite this, the puzzles are varied enough to keep you entertained as you make your way through the game.
Dark Heritage: Guardians of Hope has a lot going for it, and while it's not perfect, it shows that World-Loom is another promising casual game developer. Try it out and see if you can uncover the mysteries of the Chosen One, Cannon Rock Island and the Philosopher's Stone that every character you meet seems to go on about!
A Collector's Edition is also available. It contains a bonus chapter, art gallery, strategy guide, and more. 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.