Play Modes:    Regular; Expert
HOGs:    Interactive Lists; Shapes
Puzzles:    Good variety; Instructions poor; Frustrating
Collections:    Punch Cards
Map:    None!
Game-play:    Story driven; Logical; Fun
Navigation:    Good but controls clumsy at times

Graphics:    Fantastic; Delineated; Colourful; darkish in HOGs
Player Participation:    High
Satisfaction Factor:    Good except for swift finale
Frustration Factors:   Faulty Puzzle controls & lack of Map
Fair Play:    Okay except dark blurry HOGs
Tedium Factor:   Back & forth Navigation tiring

The fabled land of Agartha awaits your discovery in Esoterica: Hollow Earth! Experience an edge-of-your seat sci-fi adventure that will take you to the depths of the planet, the bad guys nipping at your heels every step of the way! Dazzling art, professional vocal work, and jaw dropping production values will be your companions as you explore underwater caves, a subterranean jungle teeming with bizarre life forms, and the laboratory of an evil genius. Just be careful who you trust. (BigFish Sale Blurb)

I love this game, though it has its problems.  The fact that there is no Map is frustrating, and surprising considering the degree of technology now available.  It causes a lot of clicking back and forth which is tiring on the wrist and hand – need I mention RSI.  Plus the fact that several times I could do the Puzzle but the Controls wouldn’t cooperate – so I had to Skip a Puzzle I would have enjoyed.  The fact that the Instructions for these Puzzles are very brief and lack necessary information does not help.

This having been said, the game is really enjoyable – the story is great, intriguing, compelling in places, and cohesive – integrated into the game-play, so you never lose sight of the reason you are playing.  The Art Deco SciFi scenes that you explore are gorgeous, fantastic, colourful, well designed and brilliantly conceived – the artwork is excellent with great focus on details.  Each new scene is breathtaking – that alone makes the game worth buying and playing.

Initially you have to make your own notes – until you find the Journal – and it doesn’t hurt to go on doing so as you progress – especially for Codes and Runes etc as it is so much easier to look from your notes to the screen that to mess around opening and closing the Journal as you attempt to unlock one of the vast number of devices.

Tips:  For the Butterfly Puzzle use the Paintbrush on the Butterflies to make them go into the traps.  The Paint creation with the Butterflies uses a similar logic.  The Safe Controls are clumsy but you can do it with patience.

I highly recommend this game despite the glitches and bought it immediately.

Jud House  11/01/2014

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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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