An easy and powerful trope is having a woman kidnapped and the fiance left to solve the mystery to find her and set her free. We had it last week (in reverse) in Silent Valley and we have it again now. But sometimes a trope is a launching off point for an excellent game – that is the case here!
Type of app: Hidden Object Puzzle Adventure
Platform/where to buy: iPad (iPhone version also available); available in the iTunes App Store
Developer: Vartis Games / G5 Entertainment
? 60 magnificent scenes to search
? 16 brain-teasing mini-games to play
? 23 challenging achievements to earn
? Seven unforgettable characters to meet
? Gripping storyline and theatrical aura
Some people measure games by what new things they bring, or the challenges, or the eye-candy. They think that unless a game is innovative, it is somehow a lesser experience. And while that might have been true through the 90s and into the early part of the last decade, by this point we are well past those worries. I really appreciate a game that executes everything perfectly – which is how I would describe Mystery at the Opera.
The game focuses heavily on story, and is a story about what happens when love turns into obsession, and the desire to posses something no matter who you destroy in the process. The narrative is revealed in the notes you find lying around, and the flashbacks that are presented when ghostly images appear.
The environments are extremely well designed, both in terms of logical layout and art design. After playing so many of these games, this sort of design really jumps off the screen. The use of an opera house is at once moody and evocative, and the game gives a sense of scope – although that means you will spend a fair amount of time traversing the structure!
Mystery at the Opera will likely take your 4 – 6 hours to complete, making it longer than most genre games. There is a great variety in puzzles, hidden object scenes, cut-scenes, find-the-item and other things you would expect, all executed perfectly, making this a highly enjoyable experience that is easy to recommend.
Ease of use/Overall performance:
As I noted, Mystery at the Opera uses all of the standard hidden object game elements, executed in exactly the way you would expect. As a result, the emphasis is on story, mystery and solving things rather than figuring out HOW to play the game. Technical elements were also perfect – I didn’t have a single issue of an element not responding when tapped or a mini-game not performing as expected. This makes everything flow perfectly, and I found it enhanced the overall experience.
The graphics were simply amazing – I am not sure how much is due to this being my first game on the iPad Air after a year on the lower resolution iPad Mini, but I thoroughly enjoyed the details, nuances and depth of animation.
Would use again/recommend?: Definitely! I absolutely loved this game – the story is intriguing, the mystery worth solving, and the balance of puzzles, hidden objects, combined-item tasks, and brain-teasers will have you challenged and occasionally frustrated, but never lost!
Suggested changes/wish list for updates: Nothing
Source: Publisher provided review code
Price: Free download with in-app purchase of $4.99 iPhone / $6.99 iPad – on sale for $2.99 on iPhone and $4.99 on iPad through November 8, 2013!
Here is the trailer: