Muse is a brightly creative hidden object game from Big Blue Bubble that ditches the conventions of the genre to focus on pure, amazingly-crafted hidden object entertainment. The artwork could practically come from a museum, the story is unique, and even the voice acting is top-notch, creating one of those rare games that aims to do nothing more than enchant each and every player.
Meet Hope, an idea represented by a young girl who lives in Limbo. At the very beginning, Hope introduces you to a few artists, each one struggling in his or her own way to create a masterpiece. Your job is to clear out extraneous thoughts in each artist's mind, clicking on objects listed on the side of the screen. Unfortunately, things turn sour rather quickly, with a malevolent Shade blocking creative impulses (as well as portions of the screen) and trapping Hope in the artist's minds. Now, you must fight against the shade as you attempt to bring freedom to Hope!
Muse takes place across a series of hidden object scenes interrupted by the occasional mini-game. No adventure or adventure-like elements to contend with here, not even any puzzles to speak of. It's just item hunting, storytelling, and a diversion or two. That's all the game needs to enthrall you. Later on, you'll get a few items to use to combat the Shade's mean little tricks. The first one, for example, is a gem that creates a cone of light around your cursor, useful for when the Shade makes the screen all shadey!
Analysis: Muse will delight you from the very first screen. There's no shortness of creativity or artistic talent in this straightforward release, and Big Blue Bubble never trips and falls into the usual traps most hidden object games fall victim to these days (haunted mansions, spooky sanitariums, etc.). Instead, you can expect pure, brilliant hidden object scenes layered with beautiful artwork and a story that will keep you genuinely interested. What more could you want from a casual game, anyway?
The method in which objects are hidden in Muse is yet another gust of fresh air. Because everything is so meticulously painted, the tiniest details become monumentally important. You really have to scour the landscape to find the items you need, as the slightest deviation from the background is the only clue you get for many objects. Contrary to what you might think, this isn't frustrating. Actually, it's rather clever, and once you learn how the game stashes objects, you quickly become better at finding them than Muse is at hiding them. Plus, the hint button is always there to get you unstuck when you need it!
One area Muse falters a bit happens early on, and it's where the Shade starts messing with your screen. Darkening the environment is a bad idea in just about any video game, and it's especially annoying when you're playing a hidden object title. Having a full view of the scenery is vital to, you know, actually finding items, and confining your field of view to a tiny movable circle adds nothing to the game.
Muse is imaginative, charming, and a wholly engaging hidden object game. If you're sick of shuffling around in pointlessly dour settings, or if you just want a game that aims to please, stick with Muse and you won't find a single strand of disappointment in that cluttered mind of yours!