VERONICA RIVERS – PORTALS TO THE UNKNOWN

by DRAGON ALTAR GAMES; BIG FISH GAMES

Jud’s Game Rating:

Graphics: ***  Player participation (PP) ****  Satisfaction Factor (SF) ***

Frustration Factor (FF) ****  Fair Play (FP) ***   Tedium Factor (TF) *

WOW & DISAPPOINTMENT

My reaction to the onset of this game was WOW.  Great idea, great opening Graphics – so colourful, fantastic, crisp and promising.  The Arctic setting was captivating, and this feeling continued until I had to do a Hidden Object search.  Then the atmospherics, the haziness, the downright blurriness and the tricks began – not too intensely for the first HO site but enough to make me wonder if it was my glasses, my eyes, or an illusion.  Clarity returned for the transition – via a really cool Portal Puzzle – to the next location, where the ‘rot’ set in a little more this time.  And now the tricks are getting more noticable – HOs so hidden as to be almost not there, some of them popping in and out of scene, with small zoom spots (which are acceptable) as sudden extras.  Each new location this got worse.

The PDA scanners – Camera, Evidence, and Spatial: to take specific photo shots, and locate secret symbols and secret messages respectively – are excellent.  And quite easy and fun to use as they aren’t affected by the clarity problem.  The GPS Puzzle is also cool, getting a little harder each time (as does the Portal Puzzle), but that is to be expected.  The Instructions have a neat delivery system, which is helpful and easy to see and follow.  All this greatness marred by the tedium of trying to peer into the mess on the screen.

The Hints, however, are NOT helpful or user friendly.  The point of a Hint is to show the location and/or the shape of the HO in question – not to just give a momentary flash of it so that if you are looking at the wrong part of the screen you miss it!  Their only excuse is that this game was produced in 2008 – before I began my blogs and complaints about the awful graphic effects and unfair game-play tricks.

So if those things don’t bother you then go ahead and get this game because it is a terrific game concept.  It’s just poorly executed visually in the area that is the whole point of the game – Hidden Objects!  They’ve sadly lost my order/purchase/money this time.

(C)  Copyright Jud House  1/06/2012

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