After sneaking around on the DS and PC under the ‘Real Crimes’ banner, Jack the Ripper brings his mystery to the PSP Minis platform with this hidden object / puzzle game.
For those of you not familiar to the hidden object genre, you are presented with a cluttered screen filled with a ridiculously wide range of objects. The objects here all fit the setting of the late 1800s. Using a cursor you must find the items listed on your left. The graphics are well drawn and generally static apart from the odd bit of rain for example. The music sets a quietly sinister tone while the ambient noises add a decent touch of atmosphere to the game.
You can opt to play one of two ways. The Rookie setting will let you play through the game casually, while Detective mode will impose a time limit upon you and will remove ten seconds from your timer for every wrong item you select. You’re given plenty of time, but it would have been nice to see some sort of scoring system included.
The plot of the game has you investigating various suspects to discover the identity of The Ripper by visiting various London locations, the only really recognisable one being Piccadilly Circus. Other locations include barber shops, pubs, offices and bedrooms. Some locations are revisited in the same playthrough which feels a bit cheap even with different list of objects to find.
Between each investigation there is a puzzle to solve too for a change of pace to the hidden object game. These consists of games of spot the difference, moving 4x4 picture grids, jigsaws, matching pairs and breaking combination codes. Nothing too taxing until the final ones that might punish you if you’ve not been paying attention to what evidence is connected with each suspect. To keep the game going you’re allowed to skip any of these ‘boss puzzles’ which may come in handy if those 4x4 picture puzzles do your head in. There’s always one little git stuck in the wrong corner.
After a few hours play, you make your choice for the most likely suspect at the end of the game and you are told how likely it is that you might be correct, as the killer was never actually caught. The story never really gets in your way and the conclusions are at least a bit interesting. You don’t have to replay the game five times to see them all, just reload the save file.
There’s scope for a second playthrough, as the list of objects changes each time, aside from the odd piece of key evidence and the odd repeating skull, bottle and so on. The items are in the same positions, but it’s good to see a reason to play again once you’ve finished it the first time even if it’s straight away or a few months later.
- Clearly drawn scenes
- Hidden object games are a great fit for the PSP Minis range
- Different lists for each playthrough adds replayability
- Some levels recycled
- 4x4 picture puzzles (skipable though)
- A bloody handkerchief won’t appease gore fans
The Short Version: A solid title for fans of the hidden object genre with a few decent puzzles thrown in to add variety. The two modes and different lists for each playthrough mean that you might actually play it more than once too.