Nov 1, 2013
Tis the season for mysteries, and the more haunted the better. Welcome to Haunted House Mysteries.
The game starting use of light flashes sets the tone; 1994 famous archaeologist Edward Russel found murdered with wife and younger daughter in vacation home in New Jersey right after a great dig in Egypt. His oldest daughter, her boyfriend and the important historical pieces discovered by Russel are all missing.
A dozen and half years later a student named Nancy gets to take what she thinks will be some time off and visit her Aunt Mary at the coast. The house is not actually her aunt’s but was lent to her by a friend who is a bit spooked out by weird happenings.
Yes… of course. This was the house that the Russels had been murdered in all those years ago. In short order, Nancy’s sleuthing aunt presses her into reluctantly helping figure out what is going on, and the adventure begins.
Basically, the gameplay revolves around identifying and collecting hidden objects. There are a bunch of mini-puzzles that need to be solved, and the keys — almost literally — are nestled in scenery that is designed to conceal them. A typical series involves a scene with several random items. There is also a list of items that need to be checked off until everything is found. Random is the key word here, and there are a few red herrings thrown in for good measure. Some items require an expansive imagination; for example, a spade can have many different manifestations. In any case, when all the objects are found, they open up one more that usually ends up being a tool or clue to be added to inventory.
Beyond the hidden object puzzles, there are more conventional riddles that need to be solved to progress. Both types of puzzles have a fairly generous. When solved, the game moves on. The game allows for three profiles, which is great for multiple household members playing on the same device.
The biggest gripe for me is the same thing that plagues a lot of hidden object games: repetitiveness. The artwork is topnotch, but using the same scene for different levels took a bit of the shine off. The game does cost a few bucks too.
Still, it’s a fun game with mostly logical progressions, and enjoyable to play.