Jud’s Game Rating:

Graphics **** Player participation (PP) ***** Satisfaction Factor (SF) ****

Frustration Factor (FF) *   Fair Play (FP) ****  Tedium Factor (TF) Nil

Travel back in time to a medieval Chinese city in Judge Dee: The City God Case! Judge Dee, the newly appointed magistrate of Yiwang prefect, travels to an isolated town in his new jurisdiction to find that the mayor’s son has fallen unconscious and became deathly ill. Suspecting foul play, Judge Dee starts investigating. Help him uncover the truth behind the town’s dark secret, its corrupt officials and the true cause of the mysterious illness in this beautiful Hidden Object Adventure game. (BigFish sales blurb)

I have mixed feelings about this game.  I really like Oriental games.  I like their storylines, their unique perspective on life, right and wrong, and their wonderful landscapes, architecture, cutoms and costumes.  There are a few games that I have rejected, but only because the graphics quality was really bad.  Having said that, I nearly rejected this game for the same reason.

Graphically, navigationably, and narratively, it is magical, imaginative, authentic, colourful, interesting, whimsical, interactive, satisfying, and mentally stimulating, with just enough puzzle points to pull you up occasionally.  But . . . . this excellence is marred by the overuse of atmospheric haze, especially in the Hidden Object sites, and the use of some tiny HOs hidden in the blur.  Such a disappointment.

If this doesn’t bother you, then buy the game – well at least trial it.  Despite all this, contrary to my usual policy, I bought this game.


Having played this game to completion, I now have a few more things to tell you.  First of all, it is important that you know this is not a children’s game.  The talking and making of Aphrodisiacs for one character occurs, and the graphics of one of the females who is a ‘street’ girl are not those for children’s eyes.  Older teens would be okay in my opinion.

The cursor ‘spot’ that indicates feet so that you can leave a site is sometimes difficult to locate.  Inventory items are not labelled, which sometimes makes them difficult to use.  The Combine section of the Inventory works to join items, often to make medicines, but can be FF at times when they don’t want to work when you want them to.  You have to wait till it is the right time, and you have unlocked it by locating another item elsewhere.  And you need to combine them in the right order.

This also applies to giving things to people, which you do by clicking on them, then clicking the ‘dropping something into a hand’ icon which pops your Inventory box out for you to choose the right item.  If successful, the dialogue occurs and you move on.  You will find that sometimes you need to redo the HO site – to achieve this move out of the room then move back in again.  If the same ‘First Item’ in the list is there then you have already got all you can from it so back out.  If the ‘first item’ is different then you need to play the HO site again.  Check old sites every now and then, especially if you are stuck.

Finally, I love the ‘old’ drawings between scenes as the linking narrative is told.  Beautiful.  And when you have completed the game, you can play the Arcade version, which is all the HO sites without the story.  Enjoy it.  I did, once I worked out the less instructed gameplay.

Jud House  2/11/2012 & 8/11/2012

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About judsartwork

I write reviews of Adventure and Hidden Object games that are Crime, Fantasy, SciFi, Renovation, Travel, Quest and/or Mystery by genre. I have a Masters in Writing (2006) and have been writing novels, both crime and fantasy for many years; plus Haiku, verse, and prose both fictional and literary. I am also an artist of modern, Acrylic, textural and hard edge work, underwater, fantasy, expressionist, and Cosmos paintings. I use mixed media (Acrylic, Watercolour, Pastels) in textural Monoprints, finding surprises to expose within each work. Having both an analytical and creative mind has meant that I have strong powers of observation, and the persistence required to follow computer problems through till I solve them. Of course I am not always successful, but am willing to ask for a little help in order to then unlock the main problem myself. My Troubleshooting Blog, 'Problems and Solutions', was the result of my tenacity.
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