MISSING: An Interactive Thriller in Review – FMV Done Right?

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In the 80’s and 90’s there was a movement in videogames to enhance the stories with FMV, or Full Motion Video.  From an animated perspective the genre is best personified by Dragon’s Lair, while “live action” video enthusiasts might fondly recall games like Night Trap or The 7th Guest.  The concept as a whole was more miss than hit, and as it became more practical to render cool 3D cutscenes that flowed seamlessly with the game the concept sort of faded into obscurity.  Now that video technology is tightly integrated with mobile devices we’re starting to see a resurgence in this format of storytelling, and the detective / room escape game Missing actually manages to handle the situation fairly well.

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Right off the bat I’ll warn you that this game is pretty short, so if you’re looking for an in-depth experience you might want to steer clear.  On the other hand, if you’re the type that’s always craving something different and likes to see old ideas revitalized in a fresh way, you’ll definitely want to check out Missing.  The video sequences are well staged, and it’s actually interesting how they transition into certain puzzles.  There are also sequences during the videos where you have to react with taps ala Dragon’s Lair, though those could have been a little more challenging.  Finally you’ll encounter situations where the game plays more like a first person point and click adventure.  These experiences tend to break the immersive nature of the game a bit, and sometimes it can be hard to spot the objects you need to complete a certain puzzle, but overall they provide a level of interaction that you won’t find in most FMV based games.

The majority of the game is you by yourself as a kidnapped victim trying to escape, and the one sequence where you take on the helm of a detective and interact with a cop is fairly brief, but the acting seems decent enough.  For the most part it does feel a bit more polished than most of the FMV fare that came out in the 80’s and 90’s, so at this point we’ll call it a B+ / A- production instead of the typical B-movie filler that was the hallmark of the first generation of this genre.  The visuals outside of the video sequences are good, though as mentioned earlier it can be difficult to discern where the items are that you need to pick up.  The off-screen voices seem a bit stiff, but the overall sound effects are decent enough.  The music is actually pretty good and provides some nice background ambiance.

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If this is where the FMV genre is headed I think we’re in for a treat.  Hopefully the next installment of Missing will be a bit longer with some more interaction, but while this offering may be short it’s pretty sweet.  If you’re one of those gamers that loves concept over quantity and have been looking for something new in the world of adventure games, you’ll definitely want to give Missing a try.

Notes: This game was reviewed on an iPad 2 running iOS 8.3 and a promo code was provided for review purposes.

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App Summary
Title: MISSING: An Interactive ThrillerDeveloper: ZANDEL MEDIA
Reviewed Ver:1.0.19Min OS Req: iOS 7.1
Price:$1.99App Size:505.22MB
  • Transition between video and puzzles is well done
  • High production value in videos
  • Story keeps you engaged
  • Nice music
  • Game is pretty short
  • Hard to find objects in puzzle sequences

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