I guess this is where I’m supposed to start my glowing review of yet another G5 hidden object game. I actually have to admit, I was pleasantly surprised by Special Enquiry Detail- Engaged to Kill HD (Free, $6.99 full with in-app purchase) as I wasn’t a big fan of the first version. It’s been so long I can’t pinpoint what’s different this time around, but I do know the exploits of detectives Turino and Lamonte have now clicked with me, and I’m thoroughly enjoying the adventure. This game lives up to the quality we’ve come to expect from G5 much more than certain other recent hidden object titles. Plus, the murder mystery angle gives it a different flavor than other offerings from this company.
What starts out as a “simple” case of a slain fiancé turns into one of many crims of a serial killer who must be stopped. You’ll have to investigate the crime scenes of the earlier victims to see what the other detectives missed and what you can use to nail the Engagement Killer. In addition to searching through hidden object scenes, you’ll have to gather evidence for analysis, talk to witnesses, and use gathered objects to complete objectives. The hidden object screens aren't quite as interactive as more recent games in terms of combining or moving things to find what you’re looking for, but I like the fact that you can acquire multiple items from one search of a scene.
The game includes plenty of mini games, but unlike a lot of these adventures where mini games mainly unlock doors and such, Special Enquiry does a great job of integrating the challenge into all aspects of the investigation. Move some crates "Tower of Hanoi" style to reach a hard hat that’s up high or defuse a bomb by tracing the wires back to the right spots to clip. The best part is that after sufficient time has passed, you can skip any one of the mini games.
The interface is pretty typical for this sort of game. Tap to pick up items or talk to a person. You double tap to move between locations, which can be difficult simply because there is no indication of where the exit is. As you can expect, pretty much everything is done with tapping. To use an item, you drag it on the scene where you think it should be used or on to another inventory item. There are a few items that have to be manipulated by dragging your finger in a circular motion, which at least shows they are trying to stretch the concept of how you interact with this genre of game a little bit. Hopefully they’ll go even further with that next time. For the most part the interface felt pretty responsive, although there were occasions when I had to “tap here” several times during a dialog before it would clear away.
The graphics in Engaged To Kill are pretty sharp. The characters look good and the backgrounds are very nicely detailed. There is actually a decent amount of animation in several of the scenes as well. The story is driven by comic book style cut scenes, which is pretty much always a hit with me. The sound effects are good, and when you actually hear the characters’ voices they seem to go well with the visual representations. In the background is an interesting mix of well written music and “street noise,” and while the superfluous noises don’t always seem to go with the scene you’re on, it’s still a cool effect.
While this doesn’t quite achieve the level of such games as Nightmares from the Deep (Free) or Abyss: The Wraiths of Eden (Free), there’s no question this has been one of the more enjoyable hidden object games to arrive in the G5 collection in the last few months. An interesting story, a decent dose of hidden object rummaging, and some not-so-common mini games all make for a nice, well-rounded package. Even if you didn’t get into the first outing of these two detectives, I would definitely encourage you to give Special Enquiry Detail: Engaged To Kill a try.
Overall Score: 8/10