Story:  Dia de Muertos, or the Day of the Dead, provides a stunning backdrop for a thrilling supernatural adventure in Mexicana: Deadly Holiday! Guide a young woman as she sets off on a desperate search for her fiance amidst the annual celebration in Mexico. Moments after a spectral figure kidnaps her beloved during a card reading, she begins her journey to the afterworld, where demons will plot her demise and ancients gods will lend her a helping hand. As you travel through a stunning fiery wasteland on your way to a realm of peace and tranquility, you’ll search for cleverly hidden objects, solve skillfully designed puzzles, and crack dozens of devious mini-games. Along the way, you’ll slowly unfold the astonishing truth of who the young woman really is. Set in a captivating world, and featuring visuals and music inspired by the Land of Enchantment, Mexicana: Deadly Holidays is packed with thrills unlike any you have experienced!  (BigFish Sales Blurb)

Desktop:  Good, easy to use Options; Main Menu is simple and colourful; Auto-Tutorial for the opening section of the game, plus for the Scroll for the After-World.  There’s a Notebook for info; a Hints that helps generally as well as in HOGs; an Inventory Bar; and the aforementioned Scroll Side-Bar with Map Buttons.

Play Modes:   Casual; Expert.

Music:  Mexican, varied, but a little irritating at times – I turned the speaker down a little.

HOGs:   Interactive Lists; Interactive Shapes where you find some then place them, then find some more then place them; and Lists with 2 Items at a time that you click to activate their combination, then find and activate the next pair, and so on till you acquire the desired item – rather unusual.

Puzzles:   These are okay, but beware clicking on the Blue Arrow – it doesn’t Start the Puzzle, it Skips the puzzle.  Of course some need to be Skipped.

Collections:   Only the scattered pages of the Scroll so far.

Graphics:  These are strongly colourful, exotic Mexican settings in the ‘Real World’, but macabre as you would expect in the After World.  They are delineated, visual-novel style, which I do like, though some of the Items are a little small.  They are fun to explore, almost too much but not quite.

Map:  None for the Real World – this causes a lot of Back & Forth clicking; a Map accessed beside the Scroll for the After-World, wit Sub-Maps for the different locations within the After-World.  They give you info on ‘Active Sites, but won’t allow you to jump from site to site – or so it seems.

Game-play:   This varies from straightforward to rather complex.  You need to gather Items and make a potion, bread, and paint- all preparations for the cross into the After-World.  Some of the actions require multiple layers of actions to achieve the desired result.  The After-World looks as though it will follow the same pattern, though the Scroll requires some exploration.  Clicking an Item to use on another, either generally or in a HOG, this Item goes into a circle which will then work on the next correct Item clicked.  There is no hand to pick things up with – the Cursor remains as an arrow, so there is no indication that you are hovering over the right Item.  This causes a lot of Point & Click which is tiresome.

Player Participation:   Because of the way things are combined for you there is less PP for the player.  But you settle into the Game-play style fairly quickly.

Satisfaction Factor:    I thought this game was quite promising, rather intriguing, slowly becoming more macabre as you progressed.  However, due to its rather odd Game-play, and slow to react Puzzles, I didn’t get as far as I usually do for the hour trial.

Frustration Factors:  Mainly the fact that some Puzzles didn’t respond upon completion, though I could have made a small error somewhere that I couldn’t detect.  Also the lack of Interactive Map for the Real World, and lack of Interactivity in the Map/s for the After-World.

I do like this game, and recommend it.  I suggest you give the trial a test-run and see if it’s for you.

Jud House 19/04/2014

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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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