Imagine receiving a mysterious package with a pleasant painting inside that your child finds captivating. He asks to hang it in his room, but then the next day you awake to find you child gone. It is the nightmare for any parent, and it is the opening scene of the newly released Lost Souls: Enchanted Paintings HD from G5 Entertainment.
The mother’s name is Bella, and she doesn’t just discover her child gone, but instead that he is now the image in the mysterious painting! So now Bella needs to enter the painting in order to get her son back. But of course there is a problem – after being trapped, his painting has been torn to pieces by an evil sorcerer. Now Bella has to visit a bunch of other enchanted paintings where the parts are scattered!
Each enchanted painting has part of her son’s painting – but also a problem. And as you might guess, in order to get the part … you need to solve their problem! It might be something like the sorcerer scattered the sources of light and power throughout the land so there is darkness looming. Before you can complete the area you need to deliver the power sources – which of course means dealing with a host of other issues!
As with most games in the hidden object genre, you will be tasked with different locations in each painting where you simply need to find some hidden objects from a list. Given the high-resolution graphics and the visual design of the game, that is a pleasure to explore. Similar to Letters From Nowhere 1 & 2, as you uncover objects you open new areas in a given location, which gives the feeling of evolving gameplay – it isn’t as deep or satisfying here, but still works for the flow of the game.
Aside from the standard hidden object gameplay, there are a number of puzzles and mini-games you need to deal with to advance through the locations. The good thing about these is that they flow naturally out of the circumstances in any area – in other words, they don’t feel random or forced, but instead make sense based on what you were already doing.
Something new G5 is doing is releasing ‘Collector’s Editions’ for games similar to how you can buy Standard and Collector’s Editions of games on a site like BigFish games. On those sites for the extra couple of dollars you gain added locations, more mini-games and a strategy guide – but here it comes as part of the package. My advice as always would be to try the free version, and if you are enjoying it jump right to the collector’s edition for the maximum experience. But if you don’t, at least buying the added content for the standard version is no more than just buying the collector’s edition itself.
Ease of use/Overall performance:The first thing you will notice when you start Lost Souls: Enchanted Paintings (Lost Souls from here on) is that the visuals are incredible, just as they were for the iPad. What does this mean? It means that everything looks gorgeous … but it also means that the game is large, though it has slimmed from the 1.3GB iPad version to 580MB on the Mac.
The level of difficulty is fairly low and consistent throughout all of the areas, so I was never frustrated or stumped – but I was always engaged and challenged. Aside from the massive size, my other complaint is that after an intriguing setup the game feels somewhat formulaic. Of course that is true of all games in the genre, but aside from the visual differences in each location the flow feels very similar from place to place. The way I dealt with that was not to play more than one location per game session. In that way I kept the game feeling more enjoyable and less repetitive.
Would use again/recommend?: Definitely! Overall Lost Souls: Enchanted Paintings is a solid entry in the hidden object genre that reflects all of the advances made in the genre on the iPad over the last couple of years, as well as making solid use of the Retina screen. A year ago (before Special Enquiry Detail and Letters from Nowhere) this would have been my favorite genre game, but now it is just a fun game in the crowded genre. Still, for fans of hidden object adventures, this offers plenty of challenges and loads of content for a reasonable price.
Suggested changes/wish list for updates: Somewhat formulaic after promising start.
Source: Publisher provided review code
Price: $6.99 – but you can grab it for $4.99 through February 2, 2013.
Here is the trailer: