By Eric Pankoke on Sun, 07/17/2011
With companies like G5 Entertainment and Big Fish Games churning out quality hidden object games one after another, the market is quickly getting rather saturated. This means that the little guy has to do that much more to make their game stick out from the crowd. While Pirate Mysteries is certainly no eye sore, it doesn’t do a whole lot to distinguish itself in a more positive direction either. Still, amusing dialog and several variations of object seeking help the game to be a fun and solid, if not overly original, title.
Your father fancies himself a bit of a pirate type, and you decide to empower those fantasies as best you can. Unfortunately, you end up getting shipwrecked on an island, and now it’s up to you to rescue your father from another fine mess he’s gotten himself into. The plot has textbook summer blockbuster film material written all over it, but the dialog is good for a few laughs and it ties everything together nicely. The game itself is divided into screens that employ several different styles of hidden object questing as well as mini-games. You can actually skip the mini-games if you choose, but so far they have actually been pretty decent, if not a bit hard to maneuver on the smaller screen. They do provide a nice break from looking for objects.
There are several different flavors of hidden object scenes in Pirate Mysteries. The standard “search for the list” concept is there, and I appreciate the fact that you can click on items in the list to get a silhouette of what you are searching for. Of course on the iPhone the list is so small and close together that it’s often hard to hit the right item, but it’s still a nice feature. The first variant starts by giving you the silhouettes right off the bat. This is interesting, but often difficult as it is hard to discern what many of the silhouettes are supposed to be. Another variant acts like a sticker book, where your list is the stickers and you have to place them on the appropriate places in the scene. This one is fun, but again it’s hard to select objects from the list. Finally there are the riddle scenes. Here your list simply says “riddle 1” through “riddle X”, and when you click on each item a phrase describing the item will appear at the bottom of the screen. I really like this variant as well.
The graphics are really kind of the low point of the game, which is unusual for a hidden object game. They’re not bad, mind you, and I do like the portraits during the dialogs. It’s the actual scene images I’m not too crazy about. The color palette tends to be kind of blah, and the images look fuzzy and washed out when zoomed in. The objects also look like they’re simply laid on top of a background image, much like the old Colorforms toys. I know that is in effect how they are rendered, but it just looks kind of cheesy. The scenes where you’re filling things in like a sticker book look pretty decent, however.
Sound effects are pretty well limited to a noise made when picking up objects. Having voiceovers for the dialog would be cool, and some jungle like ambient background noises would seem in order. On the other hand, the background music is quite enjoyable. There seems to be several different tracks, and they all suit the atmosphere of the game pretty well.
The down side to Pirate Mysteries is that it is not quite as polished as the offerings from some of the “big name” players. On the other hand, the more I played the game the more I realized it still handled itself pretty well against its competition. The controls are a bit touchy (pardon the expression), and the graphics aren’t as nice as some other hidden object games, but you’ll definitely get your fill of decent seek-and-find screens combined with entertaining mini-games and amusing dialog. If you like this style of game play, Pirate Mysteries is worth checking out.
Overall Score: 7/10
App Store Link