Red Crow Mysteries: Legion

Red Crow Mysteries: Legion is a mystery hidden-object game by Cateia Games. I finished the game today and frankly I still don’t know what the game is about. I do expect some of these hidden-object/mystery games not to take their plots seriously but this one is on a completely different league of its own. The narrative is so rushed, you forget what’s going on. It tries to deliver a serious tone and then it turns slang.

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Its navigation system is probably the worst of its kind. Instead of simply giving you an arrow to indicate backtracking, it shows you weird symbol of footprints that has to be triggered clicking on a specific angle on the screen otherwise it won’t work. It’s also hard figuring out what’s clickable and what isn’t. Usually that’s intended to make a game difficult, but in this one it’s beyond workable. I had to switch to Easy mode to see hint sparks on my screen to figure out what I need to click. There are also several glitches in the game that made solving some of the puzzles a total nuisance. Also did I mention how much I really hate games with inventories that hide their inventories?

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Putting aside all of the bad, the thing I DID like about this game is the difficulty of the puzzles. The hidden objects are kept to a minimum and more than half the puzzles in the game actually demand thinking. That came as a surprise. Although a couple were repetitive, I didn’t mind that. I think the puzzles alone were what kept me motivated to play.

As for the ending, it’s safe to say it’s laughable and there’s going to be a sequel.

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Would I recommend the game? Probably not. There are plenty of games out there far better. I’m giving it 3 stars though because I actually stuck with it and it kept me company when I’m not feeling well.

My final score is 3/5 ★★★

  • 2/5 for gameplay
  • 1/5 for plot
  • 3/5 for puzzles & exploration
  • 2/5 for overall experience

Game Platform (played on): Mac.

Game link

Game trailer

True Fear: Forsaken Souls II

Just completed Forsaken Souls II; a sequel of True Fear Forsaken Souls I, which I reviewed last week. The game is a huge improvement from its prequel! I didn’t expect to like it this much but I was really blown away.

The story took its steady time to unfold and so much has happened since FSI. New characters, new events, and new leads. I love how things are not rushed and the main character lets the player know what she thinks about everything. For once there’s actually a good use for the diary in these games.

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It’s very refreshing not to hinge the entire game on hidden objects. And I have to say the mini games in this installment were absolutely WONDERFUL! Some are straight forward mini-games and some others are very inventive like the use of night vision goggles in various places, swapping items through a time machine, and using a library cart to retrieve books with an RFID-like mechanism. You’re never bored!

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I also absolutely love how items picked up at the beginning of the game stay with you for a very long time, which is unusual with this genre of games. Your inventory grow, which lets you think about how to use the items at your disposal. Some of them can be reused many times before disposing them.

The graphics are superb. The music and sound effects are also top notch. Some find the sequel to be less spooky than the prequel. I personally found this one scarier (that basement part!).

The game is surprisingly massive and there’s a lot to uncover. Using the map to fast travel is definitely a good option.

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Overall I’m super hyped about this installment and I really can’t wait for the third part to come out. I really hope it won’t be too long. Based on the rumors I’ve read online it’s not promising but definitely worth the wait.

This game is part of a trilogy and they’re closely tied. Playing the first part is a must. If you can tolerate the clunkiness of the prequel then you’re in for a treat for the sequel. I bet the third will even be better!

My final score is 4.5/5 ★★★

  • 3/5 for gameplay
  • 4/5 for plot
  • 4/5 for puzzles & exploration
  • 4/5 for overall experience

Game Platform (played on): PC, Steam

Game link

Game trailer

Related Post: Game Review: True Fear, Forsaken Souls I 

The Painscreek Killings

The Painscreek Killings is a 1st person, point-and-click, free-roaming, mystery game. You begin the adventure as a journalist who wants to find out exactly what has happened in Painscreek to write a compelling story. Upon arrival; however, you find out that the town has been abandoned, gated and many investigators before you were tasked with similar missions but for one reason or another ended up unheard of.

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As soon as the main menu came up, I felt very pleased with what I was seeing. The music is soothing and the graphics look like they’ve been filtered with a vintage lens. In a way the game resembles a walking-simulation but eventually you realize there’s a lot to tackle beyond the surface. I play PLENTY of adventure and mystery games and I consider this game probably the closest I got to a real detective-experience.

The village is very charming and immensely enjoyable to explore. This is a good thing because you’ll find yourself going back and forth through many of its locations. The layout, design and lore were carefully laid out. The various locations are interconnected and will definitely require you to write things down.

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The game doesn’t depend on AI interactions, neither is it a straight-forward puzzler like most detective adventures these days. It heavily depends on visiting each destination, reading journal entries, letters and notes left behind by the village inhabitants and forming a picture. Eventually each location will augment pieces missing in another place until you draw a clear map of who the killer is, what weapon was used and where did the incident take place. In fact, you aren’t bound by a set of events taking place in this game to the point where you could end the game at anytime and immediately solve the mystery if you think you’re ready.

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I truly loved this game. It felt pleasantly immersive and from the moment I started the game to the very end it kept me hooked. The horror factor in the game isn’t associated with goblins and monsters but there is a very prominent creepy theme going on. I consider games with subtle touches of horror far more effective than those that deliver it to your face.

While playing this game the weather wasn’t that great and we encountered a big storm that left us staying at home for days. This game was the perfect companion. I really enjoyed getting to know all the characters and following up with their leads. I also had a lot of fun experimenting with different note-taking apps to help me organize my thoughts & solve the investigation. Google Keep & Simple Mind mapping helped a great deal. The following is a mind map that I created for the game and it really helped to keep track of who’s who and who’s related to what. Although it doesn’t include the answer of the mystery, you might not want to zoom in too much to avoid spoilers.

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My final score is 5/5 ★★★★★

  • 5/5 for gameplay
  • 4/5 for plot
  • 5/5 for puzzles & exploration
  • 5/5 for overall experience

Game Platform (played on): PC, Steam

Official Site

Links: Trailer

The Review: The Silent Age

The Silent Age is an indie point-and-click adventure game by the Danish developer House on Fire. The story takes place in 1972 and centers on a character names Joe who works as a janitor in a company. One day Joe meets a strange man from the future and receives a device that enables him to travel back and forth between two realms– Joe’s current day in the 70’s and a post-apocalyptic version of his world. In order to solve the mystery and find answers Joe must toggle back between his realms to manipulate items and solve puzzles.

The Good 

The Silent Age is visually stunning. The graphic style of the game is trendy and unique. The colors are vibrant and the characters are amusing. The narrative of the story is well written and is deeper than what is initially expected. By the end of the game all loose ends are met and you get an overall sense of understanding of how everything was brought together. I also found myself actually caring about Joe despite how short the game was.

The Bad 

The game is sold for $10 on the Apple store. On the iOS, the game is divided into 3 episodes, each selling for around $5. On steam, the price tag is $9. The game is divided into 10 short chapters. I do feel for the price offered the game is shorter than what it should be.

The game is categorized as a ‘puzzle’ game but there weren’t really any puzzles per se. The game is purely dependent on item manipulation. I also think the overall difficulty of the game is not to my liking. For instance, at any given time you aren’t given more than 3 items (for the most part even only 2). Eventually it becomes very predictable where these items will be used. A more challenging experience would have been to either allow the gamer to carry more items making it difficult to decide what is to be used where or to limit it to few items but expand the area of exploration (similar to Thimbleweed Park). By the time I reached the last 4 or 5 chapters, I found myself getting bored. My motivation to continue was to find out what was going to happen.

Verdict

For an indie game I think The Silent Age is decent. I would imagine the game isn’t best suited for Adventure game veterans though. For a lesser price, I would have thought the game is a must try.

My final score is 3/5 ★★★★

  • 4/5 for originality
  • 3.5/5 for plot
  • 2/5 for puzzles & exploration
  • 3/5 for overall experience

Game platforms: Android, iOS, Microsoft Windows, Macintosh operating systems

Links: Official WebsiteVideo Trailer,  Steam, iTunes/Apple

 

Review: The Eyes of Ara

I just finished playing The Eyes of Ara and I’m pretty excited to share my opinion about it. It’s not everyday that I get to find a game that I really really really like. I grew up playing Adventure Puzzle games like Zork and Myst. While many games have surfaced over the years inspired by these classics, very little of them delivered well in my opinion. Almost every game now is developed in an adaptive first-person perspective that moves in real-time. Thanks to touch screens, they are slowly returning. In The Eyes of Ara, aside from the real-time horizontal/vertical camera perspective, the actual navigation is true classic point-and-click.

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You begin the game in a boat being lead down a river that takes you to an abandoned castle. You find a letter in the boat which states the reason why you’re there. Many people have been troubled by this abandoned castle due to hearing a weird signal. This signal remains unidentifiable because not many people are keen on investigating the source especially with a lot of rumors going around town about the sanity of the original owner in addition to other supernatural stories. You’ve been hired to investigate the place and put to rest these rumors once and for all. Upon arrival; however, things take an interesting turn.

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