9 Clues 2: The Ward HD in Review – Creepy Is As Creepy Does
I’m sure I say this far too often but it’s rare that I play something from G5 that I don’t like. However, when the next thing that pops up after the G5 logo is Artifex Mundi I get particularly excited. This combo seems to produce some particularly high quality fare, and 9 Clues 2: The Ward HD is no exception to the rule. Game play is extremely well balanced, the game looks and sounds great, and the story is top notch. In fact, this particular tale managed to throw a few twists in, which is something pretty rare for a hidden object style adventure. If this is your cup of tea than this game shouldn’t be missed, and if you’re not familiar with or have tried to distance yourself from the genre, this would be a great place to start.
You play a detective who, along with your partner, gets called to a creepy asylum tucked away on an island. Nothing could go wrong there, right? You get greeted by a head practitioner that knows nothing of the call and a professor that decides to take a fatal dive out of his second story window, and things go downhill from there. The story is told via a myriad of cutscenes throughout the game, as well as from notes, newspaper articles and other printed media scattered around the asylum. The pacing is just right to keep you both on your toes and wanting to know what comes next. Additionally, unless you decide to way overthink things there should be a few surprises in store for you as you delve deeper into the game.
Game play itself is divided into the standard three elements: object based puzzles, hidden object scenes and mini-games. It’s really well balanced in my opinion, which means it is mostly object based puzzles and the mini-games are basic enough that even if you find them annoying (which I did in a couple of instances) you should be able to complete them without too much difficulty. As for the hidden object scenes, if you don’t care much for that style of game play you can actually bypass the scene with a rousing game of Mahjong – assuming, of course, you find Mahjong interesting. There were a few occasions where I got stuck on something for a bit and wandered away from a room before I was done with it, but for the most part the puzzles provide just the right amount of thought and are never over-taxing.
Maneuvering through the asylum is pretty simple. Tap twice to travel to a new room, and tap on an object to pick it up. Tap an inventory item and then part of the scene to use that item, or simply drag it from your inventory to the desired location. Controlling a mini-game varies by mini-game, but it usually involves some sort of tap or drag event. One neat feature of this series of games is event reconstruction, where you have to identify nine areas in a scene that appear to have been disturbed. Once you find them all you have to put them in order of occurrence, and then the detective will narrate the event as she has deduced that it took place. Besides simply completing them game there are several achievements to unlock if you so desire, and there are also three difficulty levels to play at if you’re one who likes to experience the adventure several times.
For the most part the visuals are top notch. The scenes are well rendered, the hidden object screens do a good job of concealing the items without truly hiding them, and the cutscenes as a whole are nicely drawn. The one thing that bugs me is the character animation. It reminds me of the way they used to animate the Spider-man cartoon in the 60’s, and for me it just doesn’t work. The sound effects are pretty good, and they did a great job of matching the voiceovers the visual representations of the characters. The background music does a good job of staying there, but when you do notice it definitely sets the proper tone for a romp through the looney bin.
I never get tired of bragging on a good game, and this is an extremely good game. Once I started playing it was pretty much all I wanted to do on my iPad until I completed it, and then I was kind of hoping for some more in an unlocked bonus story or something. I sadly didn’t get the chance to play through the first 9 Clues game, but now I’m thinking I really should go back and give it a try. That is, of course, unless they’re already working on chapter 3!
|Title:||9 Clues 2: The Ward HD||Developer:||G5 Entertainment|
|Reviewed Ver:||1.0||Min OS Req:||iOS 6.0|