Forget what you’ve seen on CSI. When it comes to solving a murder case, all that you really need is the ability to locate five peaches in a cluttered bedroom. In this mystery-themed puzzler it’s not powers of deduction that’ll help you play the role of Poirot, but I-Spy skills and 20/20 vision. Each hidden object puzzle is a room on board an old-school cruise ship and each one comes with a lengthy shopping list of items that you need to find.
Sometimes you’ll discover a clue along the way – like an important document – and other times you’ll have to arrange the objects in a certain way, such as dropping marbles into a jar. In-between each OCD-inducing spotting session, there are rounds where you examine the evidence – rearranging bits of torn up letters or testing mystery chemicals. It’s a quiet, dignified style of forensics, no semen stains and blood spatter patterns here, thank you very much.
At first, every room will seem impossibly packed with an endless stream of exotic clutter. But as you find yourself revisiting the same locations over and over again, the puzzles lose their edge. Instead of getting harder, they’ll get easier, because you’ll know roughly where things are. At the same time, the hints system is overly strict: for every level you’ll only get five, no matter how many rooms you’re searching. Blow them all in the first room and you’re doomed later on.
At heart it’s a budget game with a big-name author attached, but if it catches you in the right mood on a sleepy Sunday afternoon, you might just get hooked. The mix of stiff upper-lip storyline and retina scorching searching is strangely soothing. There’s a marvelous air of the ridiculousness to the whole thing as well. Discover a dead body and you just have to soldier bravely on, looking for the porcelain cat and ignoring the cold, stiff fingers of an unfortunate maid. Brilliant but for all the wrong reasons.
Dec 12, 2008