How much did I like the new iOS game ‘Letters from Nowhere’ from G5 Games? Enough that after the cliff-hanger ending I immediately went to Big Fish games and grabbed the Mac version of Letters From Nowhere 2! Let’s dig right in!
Mysterious letters and a sudden disappearance keep you on your toes in this Hidden Object journey that is filled with unexpected twists and turns. When Audrey learns of her husband’s disappearance, she struggles to keep hope alive. She has all but given up when mysterious letters begin arriving at her doorstep. Plunge into this dramatic story, wander through 48 bizarre locations, find clues and solve witty puzzles to unveil the secret behind Audry’s missing husband. Discover where Audrey’s husband is, and who, or what, is sending her these letters.
11 Intriguing episodes
48 Mysterious locations
11 Puzzling mini-games
Over 1000 objects to search
Game Center Support
iOS 4+ multitasking support
Even before I get to my review I’ll just go ahead and call this my favorite hidden object adventure yet – yes, even moreso than Mysteries of the Crystal Portal, Treasure Seekers and even Special Enquiry Detail! It really is just that good.
At the core this is a standard hidden object adventure: you have a core story that threads through the entire game, a hidden object structure that keeps you playing, mini-games to add to the fun, and a ramping challenge level to keep you engaged. Yawn, I know – same as every other game in the genre.
Only that it ISN’T like every other genre game.
The story starts off hot with a young wife coming home and discovering her husband wasn’t there … and then that he didn’t return at all. She contacts the police, but quickly begins to think that nothing will happen … until she begins getting mysterious clues, which quickly involve into an intriguing mystery adventure.
The first thing that separates Letters From Nowhere is the voice acting. Yes, I just said ‘voice acting’ about a hidden object iPad game. The main voice is Audrey, but there are a few others as well, and all of them are well done and add to the flow of events.
The next thing is the mini-games: you have ‘match the picture’, ‘rotating rings’, find matching objects, reassemble the picture, and other games, and each is well done without ever being overdone.
Also, the central hub feel of the game is extremely well executed: you have cards associated with each location you need to explore with a number indicating how many items remain at that location. Along the top you have the various plot-related objects you have located as you complete different locations. At the bottom you have your score, access to stamps, accomplishments, the menu system, as well as a ‘store’ of objects you can buy.
You score points in the hidden object screens. Each one requires you to find a dozen different items. Some are simple to locate, others are cleverly hidden, and still others require you to take some action. For example, in the first area you need to find a doll. You will see a body and then find a head, and need to combine them to score. Throughout the game each area has three hidden ‘stamps’, and finding all of them per area nets you an additional collection stamp. The basic scoring is 500 points to find an items, 2000 points to find a ‘combined’ item, and 3000 points for each stamp.
But if you are fast you can get added bonus points and achievements: finding an item within 3 seconds gets you a stamp, as does completing an entire screen in less than a minute. Also, if you locate two items within a few seconds you get a points bonus, and if you get a third you get more of a bonus and so on up to a 10 item combo (which I haven’t managed yet!).
I really enjoyed how the various episodes were not ‘fixed’, but instead are flexible and expand as you find new clues. It makes you feel you are working in a living world that is evolving along with your knowledge.
My single complaint is this – despite taking me several hours, the game ended very abruptly and left me slack-jawed waiting to get to the real solution. I knew there must be a sequel on the PC, so I headed to Big Fish games and grabbed the sequel and started playing. That game not only continues the excellence of the original – it adds some cool gameplay elements. I definitely can’t wait for that one to arrive on the iPad!
Review: Letters From Nowhere
Price: Free with full-game unlock via in-app purchase: $4.99 iPhone / $6.99 iPad
What I Like: Great story; challenging puzzles; great scoring incentive; evolving gameplay
What Needs Improvement: Cliffhanger ending will have you wanting Letters From Nowhere 2 … NOW!
Source: Publisher provided review code