by ELEPHANT GAMES; BIGFISH GAMES
Story: You come to the city library to investigate the case of three teenagers gone missing. It turns out that the former owner of the library, the Alchemist, kidnapped the souls of three readers and planted them in the book “Romeo and Juliet”. They are to live the lives of the main heroes but you can stop the tragic ending! Wander the gloomy halls of the library, travel to the medieval streets of Verona, discover the Alchemist’s insidious plan and save the children! (BigFish Sales Blurb)
Options: Good Basic.
Play Modes: Casual; Advanced; Hardcore
HOGs: Unusual, as in all of them you are replacing Items. The Graphics could be a little clearer also, but they are colourful. There are also some interactive Items.
Puzzles: Mostly excellent with a few exceptions of Puzzles that almost complete, but if you don’t want to sit there half your life you can at least Skip. Which I did.
Map: Although this is colourful, Interactive, and comprehensive, with an additional Manor House floor plan in the top left corner, it could be clearer. When you mouse-over each site it lists what tasks need to be done there – this is great – except that the Manor House plan doesn’t remove the completed tasks as the main Map sites do, causing confusion after a while as to whether you have finished with those rooms.
Game-play: This was quite frustrating at times due to lack of info and general confusion. You pass through a Portal into the story-book of Romeo and Juliet where you need to change the outcome. You can pass back and forth from their colourful world to the ‘real’ world at will, and via the Map which is quicker. As the Hotspots within sites are poorly marked, you need to check each site carefully, often, especially each time you revisit them as new Hotspots are activated.
Navigation: Bottom of screen you have a Task Book, which lists Tasks required – this is a little helpful. Inventory collects Items as usual. Mouse action okay though not sharp. The Hint button not only gives you help with HOGs but makes suggestions as to your next immediate task which can break the impasse for you. The openings to new areas glow blue when you mouse-over them – a little odd.
Graphics: As with most Elephant Games, these are gorgeous, colourful, engaging, authentic for the Romeo and Juliet period, well designed.
Player Participation: The confusion causes more of this than the game-play does.
Satisfaction Factor: The total story resolution is good, though as often with games, short and sudden – I don’t know why they can’t give a little more resolution, as it is after all the driving force behind the game and its play.
Frustration Factors: Many as already mentioned – the Map, the lack of info, some of the Puzzles and HOGs.
Fair Play: Good as there aren’t any Overclicking Penalties, and the Graphics are clear enough – though they could be crisper.
Tedium Factor: Quite tiring, because Frustration is tiring. I didn’t find this Addictive so wasn’t compelled to sit at ti too long at a time.
I recommend this game, but with reservations. Elephant Games usually are excellent – one of the best producers of Hidden Object/Adventure/Puzzle games – but this game could be so much better. I was a bit disappointed.
Jud House 2/04/2014
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