by ELEPHANT GAMES ; BIGFISH GAMES
Jud’s Game Rating:
Graphics **** Player participation (PP) **** Satisfaction Factor (SF) *****
Frustration Factor (FF) * Fair Play (FP) **** Tedium Factor (TF) Nil
I would like to say from the outset that on the whole the quality of ELEPHANT GAMES is excellent – though there is still a tendency to blur the Hidden Object sites which causes eye-strain, headaches and frustration. BUT this is improving with each game they produce, and this is very apparent in this MYSTERY TRACKERS Series. All five Games in the Series are imaginative, brilliantly vivid, clever, well designed and well conceived, and make me say as soon as I open them “Oh goody! It’s an Elephant Game!”
The attention to detail from their Design Team is wonderful – all aspects of every scene is depicted with the authenticity of the overall Setting – both architectural and thematic – in mind. Intricate design details for the small things like Keys, Knobs and Latches, Tools, Books (covers and contents), Goblets, Cushions, Caskets of all kinds, and so on, to the larger items like Furniture, Screens, Gates, Doors, Hot-Air Balloons, and Vehicles of all types, remains consistent. For the Genre of the game there is nothing out of place, nothing glaringly wrong. Even the creatures suit the Genre. In this case, as there is a strong SCIFI element to the stories, the creatures are genetically modified which is amusing yet fitting.
Considering the complexity of the Mystery Trackers’ foundation story, the Narratives for each new Episode/Game in the Series follow logically and chronologically, but each with their own distinct problems to resolve. Each Episode/Game is peopled with new characters for the Detective to assist and sometimes defeat. In each case the story is more than interesting – it’s gripping, intriguing, and rather addictive – you don’t want to stop playing until you’ve sorted it all out and saved those who need saving. In fact you feel a little anxious that if you close it you have left them in dire circumstances, despite the fact that you really KNOW that it’s just a game.
THIS IS THE HALLMARK OF A GREAT GAME – when the Narrative drives the game-play, and holds you in its grip!
The fact that the Navigation Controls are improving – you can now use an Interactive Map to jump back and forth between locations that you have already unlocked makes the game-play fast and efficient. Of course there are some positives for traversing the same terrain back and forth to get to places you know you need to get to despite the distances – you see all sorts of things, pick up Items you may have missed, find HO Sites as you pass through, appreciate the glorious colourful Graphics surrounding your journey. But the desire, the need to just get on with it, indicates the urgency that the Narrative instills into you as you play.
The use of Colour in the Graphics, throughout each game, in gloomy scenes and well-lit ones, is how all Games should be created. We want to be entertained when we play – not depressed, and physically discomforted by hours of peering at a dark screen trying to see the locations. A game can be scary, haunting, gripping, macabre, and spooky without losing its colour, or its clarity. Mist can be used to create atmosphere – Atmospherics are fine – just not all over the things that you are supposed to be searching. It’s not like you can wave the mist/haze/fog away when it gets in your face! When they can make the Graphics allow that action, then it’s okay – as long as they inform the Player first that it’s available in their game-play.
I highly recommend these games – they provide all a game should, including Satisfaction on Completion. With the Collector’s Editions, the Extra Play/Bonus Games could be longer but are of a good length, with the same facilities re Game-play, including the use of Elf, the little dog that helps you by getting into small places to retrieve Items. Plus in the later games the Bonus Game unlocks extra access to some scenes for unlimited play. Enjoy.
Jud House 1/08/2013
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