Type of app: Hidden Object Puzzle Adventure (HOPA) game
Platform/where to buy: iPad (iPhone version here); available in the App Store
Developer: BC Soft Games / G5 Entertainment
Two years have passed and your trip to the Cursed Valley is only a memory. The pages of the Magician’s Handbook remain blank and life has resumed to its natural course, until the day when a tiny fairy appears in your house pleading for help. The evil magician pirate, Blacklore, has captured all the magicians and fairies to use good magic for evil purposes. Search gorgeous, hand drawn locations, learn powerful spells to solve witty puzzles, free your friends and stop Blacklore in this immersive sequel to The Magician’s Handbook: Cursed Valley!
21 Challenging mini-games
16 Spooky locations
11 Captivating chapters
5 Powerful spells
3 Gameplay modes: casual, apprentice and magician
Game Center Support
New iPad Retina Display Support
Major features: I reviewed the original Magician’s Handbook here, noting that “I did find it a bit ‘old school’ in how the story was less involved than many new games in the genre”, but ultimately declaring “If you are a fan of the genre definitely check it out!”.
There are many ways to carve out a sequel, and this one works as well as any: a new threat has emerged but your skills have waned, so you need to learn spells again in order to defeat Blacklore. Each chapter is based around collecting enchanted objects in order to learn spells, but along the way you need to solve puzzles, find objects and get other clues. As before the story is fairly thin, but the focus is on the hardcore hidden object game.
Even better, each area has hidden objects and keys to unlock power-ups and bonus items. These are purely optional, but if you are playing the game and enjoying the hidden object portion chances are you want to maximize your bonuses as well. It is a great structure and loads of fun.
Ease of use/Overall performance: If you are looking for a story-based game, there are many better options from G5; but in terms of the focus on the hidden object game being very well executed but challenging this is an excellent game.
Would use again/recommend?: Absolutely! I found the original game a bit slow-paced based on the story, but diving in here I found that I really appreciated the attention to delivering a very specific experience.
Suggested changes/wish list for updates: Nothing.
Price: $6.99 ($4.99 for iPhone – but on 10/03 ONLY they are $4.99/$2.99 for iPad/iPhone)
Here is the trailer: