While hidden object games are more about screen design, mechanics and puzzle integration, I love series like Mystery of the Crystal Portal and Treasure Seekers that include a plot to follow with interesting characters. I already reviewed the main Treasure Seekers III game, now G5 and Artogon have released the Collector’s Edition – if you haven’t played yet, get this one.
Type of app: Hidden Object Puzzle Adventure Game
Platform/where to buy: iPad (also iPhone ); available in the iTunes App Store
Developer: Artogon Games / G5 Entertainment
? 53 Fascinating levels
? 6 Chapters
? 14 mini-games
? In-depth Strategy Guide
? 2 Game modes – casual and advanced
? Captivating storyline
? Impressive graphics
? Game Center Support
My biggest issue with Treasure Seekers II: The Enchanted Canvases was that the game started and BAM you are exploring paintings with little introduction or contextual placement. It made little sense and made the game feel disjointed, and took me a bit of time to get past. Treasure Seekers III you meet Nelly and her brother Tom again at the start, but this time there is an introduction that brings you into the story and provides the thread to connect all of the events.
Similar to the earlier games, you move from location to location and need to find a multitude of hidden objects for a few different reasons. In most cases, you are just finding stuff – but unlike many genre games, you will find containers that require you to gather up a bunch of items to complete them. These are generally a set of related items, but occasionally just random items found around the area. You will also deal with the ‘item lists’ screens.
Most of the time these containers are never seen again, but sometimes you are in need of a specific item, which you will then need to assemble by gathering lost and hidden objects. Sometimes you need to gather things from multiple locations – it keeps you thinking and paying attention all of the time!
The story again centers around Nelly being reserved but conscientious, and Tom rushing into everything. They quickly find that their old nemesis might be back as they discover ghosts trapped by an evil alchemist. To solve the mystery they need to free the ghosts and follow the trail! This isn’t an epic adventure, but the characters are charming and amusing and it makes things fun as you proceed.
For me the best part was the inception-like cascading portals. In a couple of locations you would enter one portal only to find that your solution requires you to use items from your current location as well as entering another portal.
There are also some puzzles along the way to keep things interesting, and generally these combine puzzles with hidden objects. There is a hint system with a timer, and you can also skip puzzles after a while. If you choose ‘casual’ mode there is a shorter timer between hints.
The Collector’s Edition adds a new set of levels after the ending, which you play as the alchemist nemesis of Nelly and Tom. The levels are well done and provide an extra set of things to do, and are pretty much what you’d expect in this type of game. You also get artwork, a walkthrough and
The game will take you a few hours to play and offers little immediate replayability. But the core game is fun enough that it is definitely worth trying the free download to see if it warrants the in-app purchase … I feel that once you get playing you’ll want to continue!
Ease of use/Overall performance:
As always, once you have played a couple of hidden object games you know what to expect – and that is exactly what you get here! Tapping to grab items, dragging utility components to their sources, tracing routes and so on. The graphics are well done and detailed, and it is generally very easy to pick out items without needing a hint.
Since this is the second time I have played, I was able to focus more on the mechanics and found some things that bothered me. First, nearly every time I went to play – even when all I did was close the cover on my iPad – it seemed the game relaunched. This wouldn’t be so bad except that you need to watch the opening logos, tap repeatedly to skip the opening cutscene, then tap play at the menu, then tap to skip the chapter cutscene to finally get into the game. Not a bug or problem, just a minor annoyance.
The thing that bothered me most was trying to use items to interact with in-scene items. For example, if I needed to add something to a boiling pot, the game would tell me ‘you need to add something here’ when I first tapped the pot. Then after gathering the items I need, I would try to drag them to the pot – and the first message I would see is ‘you need to add something here’. Then I would tap to clear that message, then tap a THIRD time to actually add it to the pot and progress the plot. This happened repeatedly and was more than a little frustrating.
My final annoyance related to how far the genre has come in the last 18 months – I am used to absolute tap-detection at this point. So when there is an object in a scene slightly hidden in shadows and I tap it thinking I have the right item, I expect it to register. If it doesn’t I look elsewhere. But several times I was left frustrated and using hints when I had tapped the right place but the game didn’t recognize my tap location as correct.
But these are minor issues, and I still enjoy the game quite a bit – but I would again recommend trying the demo before paying for the full game to see how you feel.
Would use again/recommend?: Definitely! I loved the loads of challenging puzzles, the great variety of locations and challenges, the interesting Story with old and new characters, the detailed visuals and the solid controls
Suggested changes/wish list for updates: Too long getting into the game; weird sequence for giving items to in-scene targets; occasional tap-location precision issues.
Source: Publisher provided review code
Price: Free download with in-app purchase, $6.99 for iPad, or $4.99 for iPhone – but through October 18th you can get it for $2.99 iPhone / $4.99 iPad!
Here is the trailer: