By Eric Pankoke on Mon, 02/07/2011
Since I’ve started playing hidden object games I’ve noticed that they have become less about searching a room for a bunch of objects and more about being like an adventure game. You often need to find an object to be used somewhere else, there are mini-games to be solved to unlock objects or rooms in the game, and you even have dialogs with other people in the game. The focus tends to be around people searching for their parents, grandparents, or kids, so the original Treasure Seekers was a nice change of pace in that it revolved around a younger child trying to find her brother (and then looking for a treasure, of course). Now the kids have grown up, but the premise hasn’t changed – sister must find brother, and together they’ll seek the Philosopher’s Stone. Turns out it’s still as interesting this time around, and the more balanced mini-games make for an overall more pleasant experience.
As luck would have it, your brother Tom has decided to go treasure hunting again, and this time he has managed to get himself locked in a mysterious castle. When you arrive at the castle you discover a series of portraits that lead to other worlds, and it’s only by conquering the puzzles held by each panting that you’ll find out what happened to your brother. This is certainly not the newest concept around, but it is well executed in Treasure Seekers 2, and the beauty behind the portraits is that each one can contain a completely different world for you to explore. It helps keep things interesting, and just seems to work as an element of fantasy stories.
The game is divided into several types of game play. Hidden object sequences are driven by locating a “key” object, which will in turn provide you with a list of objects to find. Once you’ve provided all the missing items to the key object, a special item will be revealed or another part of the game unlocked to let you keep playing. You will also acquire inventory items from time to time that will often need to be used in other locations. Finally, there are many puzzles that are actually mini-games that must be solved in order to do things like open doors or unlock chests. The first few mini-games in the original Treasure Seekers were annoying and in one case made absolutely no sense, but so far all the ones I’ve run across in part two have been pretty decent and actually fun in several cases.
The game is basically a tap everything affair. You can pinch to zoom in and out, but for the most part everything is “tap to select, tap to place”. Control is pretty responsive, though you’ll often have to zoom in to select objects, even if you can see them while the room is zoomed out. The biggest problem is that it’s often hard to spot objects in their surroundings, even if you use a hint to tell you where the item is hidden. It’s also difficult at times to determine where the key item is, though I think that has more to do with my choice to select the more difficult playing mode. A glow will emit from the key elements every so often, but of course if you’re not looking in that area at the time you’ll miss it.
Visually the game is pretty stunning. The backgrounds are all intricately drawn, regardless of which location you’re in. The characters are also well illustrated, each with their own personality. The game is lacking a bit in the animation department, but that seems to be the case for most hidden object games. My main grumble is that it is often a bit too difficult to pick out the items that you need to find from the background. It doesn’t really help any that the orientation of the items within the scene often doesn’t match the picture of the item that you’re given when you tap a key object.
The ambient sound effects in the game are great. They really give you the feeling that there’s a living world around you. The actual activity related sounds like placing items inside of key objects are just kind of blah, and the sound of making a wrong selection gets annoying after a while. I suppose that could be helped if I’d just stop making wrong selections, huh? There’s actually some really good music in this game, though it seems very sporadic as to when it actually gets played. I don’t know if that’s by choice or a problem, but I would have loved to hear the tunes more often while I was playing.
I’ve become a huge fan of hidden object games, and I like the trend towards making them feel more like adventure games. I’ve played quite a few of the offerings on my iPod Touch, and Treasure Seekers II is on the top of the list in terms of keeping my attention until the end. While not overly deep, the story was certainly compelling. There was a nice balance between hidden object seeking, object based puzzles and mini-games. The graphics were polished, and the sound was decent enough. It suffered from the same ills that most every hidden object game does, but by now I’ve gotten used to that. Overall I’d say this hunt for the Philosopher’s Stone is definitely worth taking.
Overall Score: 9/10
Treasure Seekers 2 on the App Store
While I’m here I’ll put a little plug in for the first game in the series, Treasure Seekers: Visions Of Gold. Format wise it plays pretty much like part 2. Personally, though, I didn’t find the story quite as compelling, and I thought the mini-games were rather annoying compared to what I found in part 2. Still, it’s a solid game, and if you enjoy hidden object games you’re sure to get some pleasure out of it. I’d say the first part deserves a 7/10.
Treasure Seekers: Visions Of Gold on the App Store