Sample Game Review

Nancy Drew(R) – Treasure in a Royal Tower

The popularity of hidden object games has been increasing since these were first introduced. The premise of these types of games is to find objects in a room. The difference between games has been the variety of objects and the complexity or method of hiding. Due to the popularity of this genre, there are a lot of successful series with different target markets. In this case, Nancy Drew has staked a claim for hidden object games for teenage girls.

The Nancy Drew series of books was first written for young teenage girls. Nancy Drew herself was a teenage detective whose adventurewas very much awaited by a captive audience. The adventure and the legacy of those books continues with the Nancy Drew series of hidden object games. Available on both the PC and Mac, the Nancy Drew(R) – Treasure in a Royal Tower is the latest release in a the franchise.

Set in Wickford Castle Ski Resort, Nancy Drew is snowed in. Trapped and with nothing to do, she gets entangled in a mystery involving the Wickford Castle history and Marie Antoinette, the French Queen who was beheaded during the French Revolution. Marie Antoinette’s story unfolds as Nancy Drew gets to the bottom of her mystery. It’s not a stretch to say that the player would know who the culprit is way before finishing the game. Even with the spoiler, the game is still engrossing in its own right.

Searching for objects in Nancy Drew(R) – Treasure in a Royal Tower is not that hard. In fact, compared to other hidden object games Nancy Drew games are considered among those with a medium level of difficulty. The gameplay has been engrossing though not much differentiate from other series titles. Besides the hidden object levels, there are also puzzle solving levels.

As with the gameplay, the game’s graphics engine has not changed, and brings the same high quality graphics and screens as the previous titles.

With higher expectations for the current title, it may be a bit less awesome than its predecessors, but that is to be expected. Buyers can try out the game with a free trial before deciding to buy. In the case of Nancy Drew(R) – Treasure in a Royal Tower, it’s almost a no-brainer. The screenshots on the game’s home page are just a sample of the graphics quality. Maintaining the high quality of the series shows all throughout the game. Besides the screenshots, there are is also a game review or two on the site. You can easily find a walkthrough on other review and game sites. The popularity of the game title ensures that a walkthrough gets published almost as soon as the title itself. Not that there’s any need for a walkthrough. For Nancy Drew(R) – Treasure in a Royal Tower, a walkthrough is not necessary, but it is there for completeness, as it were.

For the most part, short of major changes to the gameplay and the game engine, this is a bridge release. It whets the appetite for more titles and succeeding releases. The fan value is also there, of course. This title can serve as a good introduction to Nancy Drew.

Temple of Life – The Legend of Four Elements

The Temple of Life – The Legend of Four Elements is a hidden object game published by Big Fish Games. The game runs on Windows PCand there is no Mac version. The game itself is sold as a Collector’s Edition. There is also a free trial version on the Big Fish Games site.

The story follows what happens after the element of water is released by an archeologist. It’s the players task to restore the balance of the elements in this hidden object game. Included in the game are other puzzle levels interspersed with the hidden game levels. Although upon review the target market and gameplay level is for teens and young adults, this also works well with the major market of hidden object games: women 25 years old and older. Like most hidden object games, Temple of Life – The Legend of Four Elements brings collaborative play for the whole family.

Looking at the walkthrough, one can see that the basic premise is the search for objects within a scene. There’s the list of objects and the task gets harder for the higher levels. The demo play takes anywhere from 40 minutes to an hour to play. If the free trialis any indication, there’s enough fun and enjoyment in repeating the game without it becoming too easy from the repetition. Although, with the randomization of objects, there is practically no limit to the unique number of combinations for the hidden objects. At some point in hidden game development, it would be expected that a game would come out with an infinite number of objects, or at least, it would feel as it there was an unlimited number of objects.

There have been reported problems with the graphics. But if you’re using a widescreen monitor, you wouldn’t encounter this problem. If you have an traditional standard monitor, it is recommended that the game is not set to full screen. Screenshots of the game show that it’s optimized for a widescreen monitor. It would have been more awesome without this limitation. However, that it is not available on the Mac does put a damper on it for Mac users.

The full version includes an integrated strategy guide and bonus gameplay. If you’re really into this game genre, the additional gameplay wouldn’t hurt. It’s interesting to note that those who like this type of game typically collect a lot of other like games. This is a testament to how addictive hidden object games are. Temple of Life – The Legend of Four Elements continues to feed on that addiction. This addiction to hidden object games is not bad considering that for some this is a group or family activity. Additionally, for older users, this genre provides mind exercises which help keep the brain up and alive.

Ultimately, the objective of the game is not that important. What keeps the players plugging at it and finishing the game is the engaging user interface and the adventure of the game experience. It’s a welcome addition to the hidden object family. It is not a stretch to say that with all the users who enjoyed this game, there should be a follow-up game to this. This does look like a good franchise to continue.

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