Haunted Houdini is the first title in the Midnight Mysteries series that I’ve had the chance to play, but it certainly won’t be the last. While in general hidden object games are becoming more like “true” adventure games every day, Haunted Houdini takes storytelling within a hidden object game to a new level. Combine that with many diverse locations to explore and a fine balance between hidden object scenes, object based puzzles and mini-games, this has become one of the most enjoyable from this genre that I’ve played in quite some time.
Not too long ago before this review I wrote a preview forAzkend 2, so I decided to start over and play the game on my iPad this time around. I was about half way through the game on my iPod Touch, but the truth is that I’ve had just as much fun the second time around with this match 3 from 10tons. Actually, I think it was a bit more entertaining because I found it easier to pull off massive combos on the larger screen. Still, whether you’ve got an iPad or just a small screen device with which to play iOS games, Azkend 2 is definitely worth your time.From the opening sequence you’ll be hooked, and every new scene brings with it twists and turns that make you want to see this through to the end. Your task is to reunite Harry and his wife Bess in the afterlife, and you’ll have to travel between different times and places and talk to the dead in order to accomplish your goal. Each area has an overriding task for you to accomplish by collecting items via mini-games, hidden object scenes and simply by picking them up in the various locations that you visit. Talking to the various ghosts you meet, whether friend or foe, will both reveal more details about the story and give you additional tasks to complete.
To move between locations you’ll be provided with arrows to tap on, or in some cases with hidden object scenes there will be a blue glow where you need to press. Whether it’s an inventory item or simply a hidden object to find, you’ll retrieve items simply by tapping on them. Sometimes you’ll need to combine two objects, which is done by dragging each to a special location in the inventory and clicking a “plus” button. To use an object you drag it on to the appropriate place on the screen. What you have to do for a mini-game is dependent on the game, but it mainly involves tapping as well. There is not really any swiping in this game, though you can pinch to zoom in and out on most screens.
Every location contains a raven and at least one 4 leaf clover. The ravens can be traded for hints, and collecting 40 clovers unlocks a special “unlimited hidden objects” mode, which I’ve managed to unlock but haven’t tried yet. Unless you’re really bad at this type of game you shouldn’t need to use the hints very often – I think I’ve taken advantage of them maybe twice so far. Of course I am playing in Casual mode, so I’m sure some things are a bit easier, but for me it has been a nice, balanced game that challenges at times but never causes you to pull your hair out. There are two more difficult settings, so if this sounds too easy you might consider playing in Advanced mode.
The visuals in Haunted Houdini are incredible. Everything is beautifully drawn, the ghosts look great, most every scene has some animation going on, and there are even the occasional special effects to spruce things up. Just like any other game in the genre, there are times when objects blend in too well with that background, but you just need to get used to that if you want to enjoy the experience. The sound effects are a great compliment to what’s going on. There are certain segments where the noises do a wonderful job of invoking an eerie atmosphere, and the background noise in the WWII segment is awesome. The one thing I’m not overly impressed with is the music. What’s there isn’t bad, but at least at the end when I really started thinking about it, I noticed there really wasn’t a whole lot of background music going on.
If you’ve played many hidden object games at all, you’re already familiar with the minor annoyances present in this game, which is why I didn’t cover them. The important thing to note is that overall there is nothing to complain about regarding Haunted Houdini, except of course that it might suck up a lot of your time. An intriguing tale full of twists and turns, stunning visuals with complimentary sound effects, and plenty to do make this Midnight Mysteries a jaunt that you won’t want to miss.
|Title:||Midnight Mysteries: Haunted Houdini (Full)||Developer:||MumboJumbo|
|Reviewed Ver:||Min OS Req:||3.2|