Musaic Box Review

Musaic Box Review

Oct 14, 2011

Hidden object games usually revolve around searching an area for answers to some mystery and repeating this process over and over. The people at HeroCraft decided this basic formula needed something else, and thus they added in some logic puzzles to help sweeten the pot. It is an interesting spin on the genre, and in this case it is one that works well.

Musaic Box starts with a mystery about where grandpa disappeared to. A note is all there is to get going on solving this mystery. From there it is up to the player to work through the house to find more clues on where gramps went, and why. The story serves more as a purpose to move throughout the house than something to talk about at the water cooler.

The story may be slim, but the gameplay is where this app shines. Players will need to search rooms for pieces of parchment that contain outlines. Some of these are easy to find, like looking on a chair, while others will require various steps to activate items like an old Victrola or projector to reveal hidden pieces. These fragments setup the puzzles that will challenge players for the better half of the game.

Once an outline is fully restored, it is off to the musical puzzle aspect of the game. For this part there is a small section on the bottom of the screen where players can listen to the song they need to build, and Tetris-esque pieces scattered about the board. These pieces will need to be assembled in the correct order to recreate the song. The outline helps define the puzzle while colored symbols complicate it further by not allowing duplicate colors in each row. A hint system is there to aid players, but using it will deduct from the final score.

All this item hunting and brain teasing happens in a beautifully detailed world. Every room is unique and varied with heaps of musical items and paraphernalia scattered about, like a workshop that has violin frames hanging from the rafters or a study with old Victorian wallpaper. This is also a game that sounds great, which is a good thing due to how much of it revolves around music. The puzzles place familiar tunes, like Mary Had A Little Lamb, into unique compositions. This is a game I wish I had a larger screen to enjoy.

The biggest hitch I ran into was with the controls. Sometimes I would want to tap on a piece of paper sticking out behind a book, or pick up an item off a stack of junk, but the game would register the tap wrong and select something else. This led to a lot of double and triple inputs to select the correct item. It can become a bit frustrating, but those playing on a tablet may not have the same issue as the larger viewing area will be more forgiving here.

Musaic Box is enjoyable and entertaining with just enough challenge to make things fun, but not so over the top to make one want to chuck their phone in frustration. There is a lite version for anyone wanting to test the waters, but gamers that enjoy this genre will find this solid purchase.

Musaic Box Review Rundown

Controls - Playing on a phone does have some disadvantages when it comes to tapping on smaller objects in the stages. The game will sometimes select a foreground element when really it was the item just off to the left or right I wanted. Solving the music box puzzles came with little issue.
Graphics/Sound - Each room comes riddled with detail and atmosphere, while the tunes are familiar and varied. It will take a keen ear to solve some of the puzzles, so make sure there are decent headphones around.
Gameplay - The logic puzzles maybe irritating at times, but solving a tough one is extremely rewarding. Roaming around a beautiful house, hunting for the next outline, and solving things along the way is extremely rewarding.
Replay Value - Upon completing normal mode, hard mode unlocks and the logic puzzles only become more difficult. Outside of playing again for the fun of it, or for better scores, there is not much to do after two or three play throughs.
Overall - The setting is enjoyable and the audio is a treat for the ears. There are tough puzzles to solve throughout the game and a hard mode only ups the ante. Anyone who enjoys the old hunt, gather, and solve a mystery game will find this a decent addition to the game collection.

App available on the Google Play Store »

Demo version is also available on the Google Play Store »

Chris Nitz
Chris has been playing games since the day he got his hands on an Atari 2600. Chris enjoys long walks on the DOA beach, candle lit dinners with Raziel, and flower power from Super Mario World. Chris now spends most of his time on the PC, PS3, DS/PSP, Droid, iPhone, and iPad.
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