Developer: Space Monkey Games Factory International
Publisher: Sanuk Games
Hidden object games are something of a rarity on PSN. I haven’t played any since a range of PSP titles in 2010 including Route 66, The Mystery of the Crystal Portal and Actual Crimes: Jack the Ripper. Sanuk have returned though with another detective puzzler to test your peering skills.
The game has already seen a mobile/PC release, so it’s unsurprising to see the game using a mouse cursor to navigate. The analogue stick or a Move controller can be used to point at objects with ease, although you’re arm will get tired using the Move.
Multiple scenarios place you in cluttered rooms with the aim of finding objects from a long list on the side of the screen. Early on, you’ll be looking for a fridge door handle so you can open the fridge to feed your cat some milk -even though you shouldn’t because they’re lactose intolerant. Another puzzle involves filling up a bucket to wake someone up from his trance-state. Even though you often only need one item from the list, you must find everything before you’re allowed to proceed. It would be a very short game if this were not the case.
Important items are stashed in your inventory at the bottom of the screen and can be used to interact with objects in the world. Attaching ladders, fetching items to people, patching up engines and so on. While your character seems to have an uncanny knack for keeping hold of certain objects that turn out to be important, the eventual use for an item is never as farfetched that you had to use everything on everything to progress. It all makes sense. Yes, even walking around with an eyeball in your pocket for a disturbing amount of time.
There are a few puzzles to give your eyes a break from finding hidden objects and thankfully, they don’t have a boring reliance on mathematical brainteasers as you may find in The Testament of Sherlock Holmes. Rearranging a chemistry set to match the outlines is about as basic as they come, while the pipe swapping and gear placement ones are familiar yet enjoyable.
The only one that gave me any trouble was because of a glitch. A rewiring session that required multiple wires to be feed into different switches would crash upon any in-game reset to start again. I had to use the ‘skip’ option in the end to progress, even though I knew how to do it.
I was pre-warned when my review code was issued about a known glitch. When you get to a scene where you rebuild a carriage wheel, do not restart, skip or turn you console off otherwise you face the possibility of having the start the whole game again. It’s a simple puzzle though, so you shouldn’t need to skip it. I’m told that a patch has been submitted to Sony, so hopefully that’ll be sorted soon.
Another annoying glitch popped up a few times during hidden object scenes, some items wouldn’t appear on the picture until AFTER clicking them. Usually the very last one, meaning I’d have to click like a mad man or use a hint option to show me where it was hiding so it could magically pop into existence upon clicking a blank area. It’s incredibly frustrating when you’re on the last item of a scene. It’s doesn’t happen every time, but just enough to make you think you’re never going to find it with only your eyes.
However annoying, I wanted to carry on playing, as it’s just a simple and fun game to play. It worked even better when playing it with someone else too as two pairs of eyes make life much easier. There is a multiplayer option, but it skips out the puzzle scenes for a random selection of the hidden object stages with each player having their own cursor. It works fine in practice, but the lack of any points system robs any competitive nature from the game. You’re better off pad swapping during the story mode and getting the full game experience.
The game’s mobile origins are a little too much on show at times. It’s not the dated PS1-style FMV cutscenes, they’re quite nice in a retro kind of way; it’s the smudginess of the hand-drawn visuals. Particularly during hidden object scenes and darker areas it can be difficult to make objects out in the blurry gloom. It’s not a deal breaker, it’s just I’ve seen better in the games mentioned at the start of my review.
- Nicely cluttered hidden object stages
- Simple puzzles
- Object combinations make sense
- Some objects are invisible thanks to a glitch
- A few crashes
- Occasionally smudgy visuals
The Short Version: At only £3.99, I’d say Voodoo Chronicles is worth a shot. Sure it’s a little rough around the edges and the odd glitch may test your patience, but it’s a fairly mellow experience overall. A Vita version wouldn’t go amiss, but the game also works well when played with friends on your TV. Object lists are reshuffled, giving some replayability too.
Note: Sanuk Games have since released a patch to fix the bugs/glitches mentioned in my review.