Dark Arcana – The Carnival HD for iPad Review

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Dark Arcana – The Carnival is a Hidden Object Puzzle Adventure (HOPA) game for the iPad and iPhone; it is available in the App Store. It’s developer is Artifex Mundi / G5 Entertainment.


48 enigmatic spine-tingling locations to visit
18 hidden object scenes to search
28 mini-games to tease your brain
21 exciting achievements to rack up
Three difficulty modes to keep you guessing
Bonus chapter, strategy guide and extras
Game Center Support
New iPad Retina Display Support

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Major features: In terms of hidden object games, most fall into either crime mysteries or dramatic stories involving the supernatural. By the title you might guess where this game falls. You play as a detective on the case of a young mother who has suddenly gone missing. Unlike anything you have ever seen on a TV show, you are left entirely alone to explore the entire carnival where the disappearance occurred.

As it turns out, there is history here – a bizarre accidental death from 1975 involving a knife-thrower who accidentally killed his fiance during a show seems oddly connected as the missing woman strongly resembles the dead girl. As you explore more and more bizarre twists and turns point towards a haunting mirror world that you need to visit and explore to get to the bottom of the mystery.

The game is full of the normal gameplay elements – hidden object scenes, puzzles such as lever-moves, picture reassembly, wiring and flow mapping, and so on. There is always something new to check out, and various ways that items will come into your possession.

The structure flows naturally from cutscene to the same characters present in the static world with objects to puzzles to hidden objects and back to cutscenes. It is a great story-telling method that wraps wonderfully around the gameplay and makes for a compelling experience.

Ease of use/Overall performance: If you are a fan of the hidden object genre, you will have no problem jumping right in and enjoying this game to the fullest. The difficulty levels will determine how forgiving and helpful the game is with hints, ‘item frob’ and other highlighting to help you on your way.

Would use again/recommend?: Absolutely! There are three difficulty levels, many ‘extras’ and an overall sense of fun that makes this a ‘keeper’. I had started playing the game before my iPad problems started, so when all that finally resolved I started the game over again because it was all very well done. Definitely worth checking out!

Suggested changes/wish list for updates: Nothing.

Price: $6.99 ($4.99 for iPhone)

Here is the trailer:

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About the Author

Michael Anderson
I have loved technology for as long as I can remember - and have been a computer gamer since the PDP-10! Mobile Technology has played a major role in my life - I have used an electronic companion since the HP95LX more than 20 years ago, and have been a 'Laptop First' person since my Compaq LTE Lite 3/20 and Powerbook 170 back in 1991! As an avid gamer and gadget-junkie I was constantly asked for my opinions on new technology, which led to writing small blurbs ... and eventually becoming a reviewer many years ago. My family is my biggest priority in life, and they alternate between loving and tolerating my gaming and gadget hobbies ... but ultimately benefits from the addition of technology to our lives!