OMINOUS OBJECTS: PHANTOM REFLECTION – Collector’s Edition


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by DAILY MAGIC PRODUCTIONS; BIGFISH GAMES

SUPERNATURAL MIRROR FANTASY!

Story: After surviving a supernatural experience as a child, you have dedicated your life to solving similar cases and tracking down ominous objects all over the world. This time, you and your trusty sidekick, Mr. Jenkins, have been called to the house of Lilith Armstrong to investigate strange activity. But when you arrive, Lilith is nowhere to be found, and the entire house seems to have come alive! The events all seem to be tied to a rare mirror Lilith recently purchased at an auction… Can you find out what happened to your client and uncover the secrets of this latest ominous object before it’s too late? (Big Fish Sales Blurb)

Options:  These seem to Basic, but the Custom Play Mode gives flexibility that’s needed.

Main Menu:  Clear, user-friendly, with cut-scenes playing in mirror shards in the background.

Music & Voice-Overs:  Both suit the game really well.  The Voice-Overs match their characters, though the Dialogues take a little while to go through – you need to click to move to the next voice.

Extras:   Bonus Game; Game Dots; Developer Diary; Concept Art; Wallpapers; Cat Room; Music.  Game Dots is trap the cat game.  In the Cat Room you buy furnishings and toys for Mr Jenkins. No real choices – just buy or don’t buy.  A bit pointless – be different if you could choose between things so each time you replayed the game the room could look different.

Desktop:   (Left) Pop-Up Diary, Spectacles, Kitty Playroom, Map; (Centre) Inventory, Lists; (Right) Lilith, Hint.  Guide pops down from the Top Left when needed.  But it isn’t very helpful – just basically so.  Absolutely no help with their odd HOPs.

Tutorial: This is helpful, quick, and you can opt out at any time.

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Graphics:  As with all Daily Magic productions games these are gorgeous, colourful, clear, and enjoyable.  You immerse yourself into the locations via these Graphics, and their clarity also helps with this.  They are beautifully detailed, and delightful.

Play Modes:   Casual; Advanced; Hard; Custom.  Custom allows you to modify it to suit yourself – much better.  You can turn off the unnecessary Over-clicking Penalties!

Map:  Interactive, once you have found it.  It shows info, unlocking sites as you progress.  It also contains the Notebook and Tasks, which are useful to check occasionally.  You may need to resort to this a lot when you reach the Bonus Game.

HOPs:   (Match-3 Alternative) Lists; Interactive HOPs that reveal fragments of the final Item; confusing Continual Chain of progressive actions leading to a Mini-Game that leads to a final Item; Pairs of Items;  Story HOPs and Silhouettes.  Each HOP site has these in sequence so you revisit each site several times.  If these become a little to tedious or tricky for you, you can always hit the MATCH-3 button and play that instead of the HOPs to gain the final Item.

Puzzles:   Rotating pics of the Goggles are tricky.  You use these to restore distortions, using the same colour lenses as the colour of the distortion.  You line up the image inside them – quite cool.  The Key to the Secret Room puzzle won’t work properly – it was a poorly thought out idea – just Skip it.  There are others that are too annoying as well – just Skip them as they slow down your game and distract you from the story flow.  But there are also some really neat Puzzles that surprise.  Too many Puzzles – especially in the Bonus Game.

Collections:   Cat Coins – to be spent in the Cat Room buying gifts for Mr Jenkins.

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Game-play:   This is complex.  Initially feel around for the right way to play the game.  The Story is really strong and keeps you playing despite odd difficult moments.  You have to help Mr Jenkins to assist you by clicking on his paw as he touches an Item.  There are layers of storyline, providing layers of game-play – overlapping, twisting complexitites.  There are lots of doors and boxes and drawers and glass cabinets and so on to unlock with various parts to find before you can do so.  The mechanics of the game-play are basically WOW!  It’s hard to put my finger on it, but I just find myself saying ‘Wow’ every now and then.

Player Participation:   Mentally and physically full-on!  It really has you pointing and clicking from the minute you start.  there are a few breathers while you check the dialogue, but on the whole you are totally involved with the game.

Frustration Factors:  A few with a few Puzzles. And with the occasional getting stuck, only to find I wasn’t really stuck at all.  I resorted to Hint a few times, but mainly when I was tired and couldn’t see for looking – which I found when the Item or next move was revealed to me.  I sometimes think I should add a Fatigue Factor, but then that is such a relative thing.

Bonus Game:   This is long which is great.  But it is less helpful – the Contextual Pointers disappear leaving you to resort to Hint or Guide both of which are not very helpful in this game.  There are less HOPs and more Puzzles which created an imbalance within the game-play and is irritating to those of us who tolerate a certain amount of Puzzles.  If we wanted to play Puzzle games then that’s what we would do.  These are supposed to be about Adventure, Quests, Search & Find, Problem solving.  Unlocking doors and boxes etc is par for the course, but all the extra unnecessary Puzzles just impede the game flow and mar the overall experience.

Satisfaction Factor:  Obviously not hugely satisfying.   This is quite a long game with several parts to it.  It seems to be concluding but then you go on into another section that is equally as long.  That is always satisfying too.  Though you need to take a break which is hard to do when a game is so compulsive.
I have major frustrations with the way these stories ended.  The Standard game closes leaving you feeling really hanging – there is no real closure, you know why it ended but that’s it.  There is no resolution.  So of course that had to follow with the Bonus Game which continues the story.  And when that concludes it doesn’t really.  You still don’t know what the outcome would be.  I don’t know if this is due to the story writers, or the developers notion of what is the barest minimum they can get away with to save some creator wages.  But twice in one game is the pits!

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While I recommend this game  – it’s so good in many ways – I warn you that the inconclusive conclusions, the unresolved resolutions, may really annoy you too.

Jud House 10/12/2017

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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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