Mystery Case Files: Dire Grove, Sacred Grove
"The only other sound's the sweep, of easy wind and downy flake. " There's something strange and wonderful about wandering the forest at night during a snowfall. The hiss of the flakes as they accumulate, the crunch of your footsteps as you perambulate, the howl of the wolves that are dogging your every step...On second thought, maybe wandering the woods at night in the midst of a snowstorm isn't a particularly good idea. Especially if the woods are the sacred Celtic area around the tiny town of Dire Grove in Elephant Games' latest addition to the Mystery Case Files adventure hybrid collection, Mystery Case Files: Dire Grove, Sacred Grove. This sequel brings you back to the chilly burg of Dire Grove, which is once again in the throes of an unseasonal deep freeze along with a severe case of "When Animals Attack". This time around you will actually meet some of the inhabitants of Dire Grove as you work to solve the mystery of what is causing the freak snowstorms and the wild animal problems. Does it have something to do with the Druids, the Mistwalkers, or did the locals manage to do something to trigger the whole thing? Point-and-click your way through the gorgeous winter scenery to solve the mystery with the help of a lot of puzzle solving and hidden object finding.
Mystery Case Files: Dire Grove, Sacred Grove is packed with tons of gameplay, eerie music and gorgeous scenery, all of the things we expect from a Mystery Case Files game. While the pristine backgrounds seem to have lost a little of their mystique from the original game with the addition of the hunters, the druids, and the wolves, the gameplay has actually improved tremendously. The one complaint about Mystery Case Files: Dire Grove was the paucity and simplicity of the puzzles. Elephant games has packed the sequel with tons more including the addition of those fabulous multi-layered Rube Goldberg-esque door puzzles that so delighted (or annoyed) fans of the original Mystery Case Files: Ravenhearst. A map that not only shows areas of interest but also allows for instant transportation makes for smooth and easy exploration of this deadly little tourist trap.
So how does this stand up to the original? The backgrounds and scenery are as gorgeous as ever, and while the story and the characters have moved from intriguing live-action to slightly more cheesy animation, the gameplay more than makes up for it. The hidden object scenes contain multiple little mini-games to keep them fresh, and the more complex puzzles keep the gameplay engaging. And as is expected with any Mystery Case Files game there are multiple little side quests like finding the hidden puzzle pieces or collecting miniatures of the town buildings. In addition to five different modes of gameplay, including a dastardly timed mode that can only be unlocked after the first playthrough, there is an exciting new feature that allows the player to choose the gender of their mystery case files detective, ensuring that everyone can enjoy the experience of playing. Lush and exciting, chilly and mysterious, Mystery Case Files: Dire Grove, Sacred Grove shows once again why the Mystery Case Files games are the leaders in the field. Once again prepare to be chilled to the bone! "The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep."
Note: Mystery Case Files: Dire Grove, Sacred Grove is currently only available in a Collector's Edition, which includes wallpapers, music, cut-scenes, concept art, extra gameplay, and a built-in strategy guide. Remember that Big Fish Game Club Members pay only $13.99 for Collector's Editions, and collector's editions count 3 card punches of 6 total needed for a free game.