Story:  A young boy named Oliver’s been kidnapped, and the scared citizens of Willowsville are blaming the Owl Man from their rival town, Nightsville. Long thought to be a made-up story to scare the kids, the Owl Man seems to be real… and he’s coming for you…  (Big Fish Sales Blurb))

Options & Main Menu:   Both are great.  Options has a Gamma setting so you can adjust the brightness of your screen.  The Main Menu is colourful and user-friendly.

Music & Voice-Overs:   These are also great – really suitable for narrative and the game genre.  They both contribute to the game atmosphere, and you can adjust the volume to suit your own needs.

Play Modes:   Casual; Advanced; Hardcore; Custom.  Custom allows the most flexibility, including Tutorial and Penalty Options.

Extras:   Bonus Chapter; Wallpapers; Concept Art; Music; Secret Room; Achievements; Collectibles; Vending Machine.

Desktop:  (L) Map (Achievements, Collectibles, Diary, Vending Machine); ELF (helper dog).  (C) Inventory + Foresight Mode; Task.  (R) Hint; Strategy Guide.  (Top R) Deduction Circle.

Tutorial:    As always with Elephant Games this is quick, efficient, and Optional.

Graphics:    As I made no notes re the Graphics it means that they were great!  There were obviously no blurring issues to spoil the search experience within the HOPs and out in the main locations and their scenes.  Most recent Elephant Games graphics are colourful, innovative, with careful attention to the smallest details that enable the player to immerse themselves in the world of the game.

Map:   Colourful, informative, Interactive – allowing the player to transfer from one site to the next active site instantly with no charging lapses or penalties.  This speeds up the game, and eases the ‘urgency anxiety’.

Collections:   Morphing objects; Evil Creatures.

HOPs:   There are Lists that give Item Fragments to be assembled; Shapes that then unlock Lists; Items that give Lists; Shapes and Interactive Lists.  I know that sounds like I’m saying the same thing, but basically there are multiple variations of HOPs that are fun, intriguing, and puzzling for the player.

Puzzles:   Also huge variety and innovative, some simple, some Mini-Game formats.  Most are clever and enjoyable; but a few are still repetitive, random and annoying – Skip those.   I wrote “Key a bit tricky” and think that may be a Puzzle or could be the creation of a Key in a location.

Game-play:   You can pan from side to side in some scenes, which is always cool.  If you can’t find an Item in the Foresight scene then click its outline which then puts it into the Foresight Inventory to collect elsewhere.  These Items once found can then be used in either normal scenes or Foresight Scenes.  They unlock areas in the normal world and vice versa.  You need to click on the Deduction Circle, where the relevant clue items are collected, before you can proceed in the game.

Player Participation:   Plenty of this – a high degree of Interaction in all aspects of the game.  Even more if you don’t use the map to jump from scene to scene.

Satisfaction Factor:   On the whole this is high in the SF.  The story is well devised and embedded in the game, the game is well designed, and the game-play flows logically.

Frustration Factors:   The usual minor control slips due to play fatigue, and the irritation caused by some of the ‘random’ Puzzles – those where logic is chucked out the window.

Bonus Game:   Surprisingly, the Bonus Content is a bit disappointing.  There are not many HOPs and Puzzles to play – located in the Secret Room; and you can’t collect any missing Collectibles, Artifacts or Morphing Objects upon completion of both games.  The Bonus Chapter is great, more of the same game-play as the Main Game, and quite long which is satisfying.

I highly recommend this game.

Jud House 8/08/2015

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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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