Lost Souls: Timeless Fables Collector’s Edition HD in Review – Didn’t Really Get Lost In This One
The concept of entering paintings or books in order to travel to another world is certainly not a new concept, even in the realm of games. The first title in the Lost Souls series covered the painting side of the subject, and now Lost Souls: Timeless Fables handles the book side of things. I didn’t get the chance to play Enchanted Paintings, but I have played other games with a similar theme, and to be perfectly honest Timeless Fables felt a bit flat in comparison to those other titles. It’s not a bad game, mind you, but as I’ve said before, in such an over-saturated market as the hidden object genre being mediocre is almost worse than being bad, because at least a bad game still has the potential of standing out from the crowd.
In Timeless Fables you must help a nondescript protagonist named Bella rescue her brother, who somehow got sucked into a magical book. There’s never really a good explanation as to why he ends up in the book or what the significance of the other books that you must enter are, but I suppose it’s really not necessary in order to play the game. It sure would have made it more interesting, though. On top of that, since the stories you have to take part in are based on actual classics, it helps if you are familiar with the source material before taking on this quest. I had an extremely cursory knowledge of most of the tales and knew nothing about the Call Of Cthulhu, so while I found the journey somewhat interesting, I didn’t truly appreciate what was going on in each of the books. I assume that at least some of the information correlates to the books’ actual literary counterparts.
The game is standard hidden object fare. Each of the five books requires you to complete a quest for the first person you meet, which means you’ll have to traipse through several locations gathering items to solve object puzzles, playing mini-games to unlock certain items or areas and searching through rooms full of hidden objects to find some of the goodies required to solve the object based puzzles. One thing I did like was that each of the books was broken down into several major areas denoted on a “world” map, each marked with the number of tasks left to complete in that area. Of course it wasn’t always obvious when there was still something left to do in a particular area, and it often took several random taps before the game would tell you that there were no tasks available in your current location. There were plenty of object based puzzles, and if you got stuck on one you just had to try using everything in your inventory until something worked or you realized you didn’t have what you needed yet.
The hidden object scenes were broken down into two types: one that provided you with a list of items to search for and another that gave you pictures of the objects you needed to hunt down. The former usually had a couple of items that were truly hidden, but instead of having to use one object in the scene with another in order to reveal the hidden item you just had to tap something to move it out of the way. The pictures could sometimes be difficult because the object would be positioned differently than what the picture showed, and sometimes so little of the object was showing behind the clutter that it was easy to miss. All trivial things, mind you, but issues that add up when they occur on every hidden object scene. The mini-games were mostly variants of ones that you’ve played before, though occasionally presented in such a way that they were enjoyable. There were a couple of times that I found myself scratching my head for a bit because the help for a particular mini-game left out a crucial detail necessary for understanding how to complete it, but I never had to skip any of them.
To rescue your brother you have to play through the first four stories: Call Of Cthulhu, Robinson Crusoe, Jack The Ripper and The Three Musketeers. There are a couple of things that I find odd about the whole setup of the game in this regards. First, the amulet that unlocks the book your brother is trapped in gets split into five parts, one of which enters each book, so I’m not sure why you don’t have to complete all five books before your brother is safe. Second, the final tale, The Titanic, really has nothing to do with the overarching story other than the fact that it’s the same protagonist. Finally, since the only thing that ties the other four books together is the fact that you retrieve a piece of the amulet from each of them, I’m not really sure why you couldn’t play the books in any order that you wanted to.
As this is a collector’s edition you would expect there to be some extra goodies in the package. Of course one of the bonuses is the Titanic adventure, though usually the supplemental adventures tie into the main story better than this one did. For this “deluxe” edition the main extras are a few screen shots that you can use as wallpapers and a jukebox where you can listen to the various tracks from the game. One menu item I found interesting was the Trophies option, which takes you to a room filled with objects from the various games that you can purchase using coins you find hidden throughout the game. These trophies are profile specific, so I don’t know what real significance they have, but at least it gives you something to do with what otherwise becomes a tedious exercise in trying to spot all these tiny coins on each level. The game also has 17 achievements which get reset for each profile but whose corresponding achievement in Game Center only gets set for the first person to complete it.
At least the game looks pretty good. There were a couple of times where the hidden object scenes seemed a bit dark, but overall everything was pretty sharp and nicely detailed. Most scenes had at least one or two animated features, giving some sense of a living world that you were exploring. Sound effects, on the other hand, were grossly underused. There were plenty of times where something as simple as rushing water or air slowly leaking from a pipe would have done wonders towards enhancing the ambiance of a room but nothing like that was really employed. They did have voiceovers for the various characters which were sort of a mixed bag, some of them feeling spot on and others simply missing the mark. The music wasn’t bad when listening to it through the extras menu, but in the course of the game it basically got lost and in the end was pretty much forgettable.
Timeless Fables falls under the category of “I wouldn’t avoid it, but there are plenty of better hidden object games to play first”. From a lesser publisher or a developer with no titles under their belt I might be more forgiving, but G5 usually selects the best of the bunch and I know Fenomen Games has at least developed one other Lost Souls game, if not a few other titles as well. I just don’t think this was quite up to the standards of other recent G5 releases.
|Title:||Lost Souls: Timeless Fables, Collector’s Edition HD||Developer:||G5 Entertainment|
|Reviewed Ver:||1.0.4||Min OS Req:||iOS 6.0|