by ELEPHANT GAMES; BIGFISH GAMES
Jud’s Game Rating:
Frustration Factor (FF) * Fair Play (FP) **** Tedium Factor (TF) Nil
As with the previous GRIM TALES games, THE WISHES continues with well imagined graphics – that still could be a little clearer – of a variety of landscapes that are colourful, authentic, and integral to the quest narrative that immediately draws you in. Thank goodness the graphics are not overly marred by atmospherics or transparent Hidden Object tricks, or I would have missed out on three terrific games. I bought them all, this one immediately!
The Options is great, with the usual Music and FX controls plus a Gamma control for brightness, needed for the darker scenes. There are Casual, Advanced and Hardcore Modes of Play – I always play Casual and thank goodness I do as some of the Puzzles are tedious or boring, so you need the Skip button to be available. But other Puzzles are innovative, achievable and satisfying, and worth perseverance. There are however rather too many of them. On the other side of the coin though there are a lot fewer HO sites – one per scene, rewarding you with only one item from each. Also the unlocking Puzzles mostly reward you with only one item, though there are a few exceptions with two items. This gives you a small morale boost.
The Map, once gained, is great – it shows you active sites, and sealed sites, your current position, current tasks by mousing over each site, and finally allows you to go directly to the required site without tiresome multiple pointing and clicking. This keeps you focussed on the tasks in hand, and permits you to use your logic, and to a certain extent create your own path through the game. There are some things that must be done in the correct order, causing you to wait till the right time has been reached despite you knowing what needs to be done. But that is fine. The Tasks list keeps you focussed on what is relevant, and makes you realise that the other tasks, that you can see, are yet to come.
The Hints is useful in two ways – it shows you the location of items in the HO sites (recharging between each reveal, of course) – and when you are in the general scene, it makes useful suggestions about how you should proceed, if you find yourself in a quandary. With the Collector’s Edition, you do have the added bonus of the Strategy Guide, which I used to go over what I had already done in order to discover what item I had missed finding. Of course you can also look ahead and see what is to come, but I don’t do that as I know that I must have missed something.
The really great thing about these GRIM TALES is that they are very very loooooong! This means excellent value for money. Not to mention huge amounts of PP gameplay, and enjoyment SF. I was going to say ‘fun’ but the tale is too spooky and gripping to be amusing. I found that towards the end I was getting frustrated with the characters, saying “For Pete’s sake, be careful” and “What did you do that for?” and “OMG I’ve just sorted all that out and now you’ve messed it up again!” This is a fair indication of how well the narrative involves you, how much you are invested in its successful completion, and how the game seems to draw towards a conclusion only to be rolled on again into another level of tasks. And this is without the added Bonus Extra Play of the Collector’s Edition!
I highly recommend this game, and believe that in this genre ELEPHANT GAMES are always worth a trial-run.
Jud House 7/09/2012
* * * * *