iPhone Life magazine

Review: Mystery Lighthouse by Digi-chain Games

Being a computer geek in the 80s, I spent much of my mid-childhood engulfed in the world of adventure games.  Sure such things exist today (if you look beyond the fact that many publications call anything they don’t know what to classify as an adventure), but back then there were companies that were actually known and praised for such fare.  Mystery Lighthouse pays homage to such games, and it actually does it quite well.  This is a far cry from Digi-Chain’s previous effort, Dungeon of the Damned, and in my opinion a much better game.

Keep Out!
 

Your uncle summons you to a mysterious lighthouse, and now you have to figure out why you’re there and where your uncle is.  You’ll explore several areas in and around the lighthouse, collect inventory items to solve puzzles, and rack your brain towards the end because you’ll most likely miss the key to solving the last major puzzle for a while.  It’s all in great fun, though, as this is one well put together adventure game.  Everything is rather logical, the one down side being that it’s fairly easy to complete (I’m beginning to understand why puzzles in the old adventure games were so convoluted).

For the most part exits are marked by arrows, though there are a couple of occasions where you simply click on a building to head in that direction.  To pick up objects you tap them, and to use objects you scroll through your inventory to get the right item, tap on it, then tap where you want to use it.  A pop-up letting you choose items without having to scroll might have been nice, but then you usually don’t have enough for this to be a real burden.  The interface works smoothly, and when you have to interact with elements on the screen they are done in such a way that the game is even quite playable on a smaller screen.

Can You Picture That?
 

I like the fact that this is what I’d term a “true” adventure game.  There are puzzles that go beyond the “insert key here” mentality, but there aren’t really any mini-games, which while I have nothing against them often disrupt the flow of the game.  The only thing missing is interaction with other characters, because you are of course exploring a seemingly abandoned lighthouse.  There isn’t any social network integration, but then it wouldn’t make much sense in this context.  The only real negative is that the game is short, but I enjoyed it enough that I got over the length.

Graphically, some of the more egomaniacal folks will probably think “even I could do that”.  As you walk around the island you’ll realize that while the graphics might not be as grandiose as say a Big Fish Games offering, there’s still some decent detail to be had in the simplicity.  Many of the scenes have animated spots as well.  As you’re on your own there is no voice acting, but the sound effects are really good.  A crackling fire, waves lapping on the shore and faint, constant dripping in a cave a just some of the atmospheric sounds around the cavern.  The music, conversely, is forgettable and got on my nerves after a couple of minutes.

Wake Up
 

I was pleasantly surprised with Mystery Lighthouse.  It’s not the best iOS adventure game I’ve played, but the combination of good aesthetics and logical puzzles made the game a delight to play.  I would have liked to see a bit more meat before the ending, but I guess that’s what the sequel is for.  I would definitely recommend this to all the iOS adventure gamers out there.

Overall Score: 8/10
App Store Link

This game was reviewed on an iPod Touch 4 running iOS 5.1.1.

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Eric Pankoke has been a gamer for more than 20 years. He began with arcade games, moving to consoles and eventually handhelds and Pocket PCs. Now he spends most of his time on one of his iOS devices. Eric has written more than 700 gaming reviews, which have appeared on a number of gaming websites as well as several issues of both Smartphone & Pocket PC and iPhone Life magazines. He regularly contributes to iphonelife.com and TouchMyApps. Ultimately he hopes to eventually develop games himself for whatever the hot mobile device is when he finally gets moving.