Apr 10, 2016
The Ghost Archives is an interesting hidden mystery caper from the crew that all but wrote the book on the handheld genre, G5. it packs in the mystery, puzzles and action that one inevitably expects from the Android development power publisher.
Shady Valley is our spooky town location. The game provides the option of two gameplay flavors: one gets Casual Mode, which is advertised as being a bit easier, with skip and hints that charge relatively faster than the alternative Expert Mode, which is geared towards experienced players looking for a challenge. Also, the latter has glints, while the former does.
The opening sequence does it’s part to create a foreboding atmosphere, detailing some missing folks in Shady Valley, and that leads one to an optional tutorial, which starts on a moving bus. The tutorial quickly and seamlessly gives the player an idea of how to play, and how to use things such as the inventory management system, the diary and the hints. Additionally, interactions are shown, as well as the use of objects to accomplish stuff. There are tasks to keep track of too, and these help keep one on gaming track.
The player takes on the persona of a S.O.U.L. agent, which is looking into the weird happenings; others have come before, though, which is a somewhat disconcerting fact. After the preliminaries, the true stuff starts.
As noted earlier, it all comes together as mainly a hidden object thriller, and this where it really shines. The artwork is particularly well done, with different environments and great use of virtual lighting. At some points, a simple touch to find items on a list mechanism works; in others, one might, say, move objects (by tapping) o recover concealed items. The game also manages to incorporate logic mini-games.
The different elements come together pretty nicely, preventing, to a degree, too much monotony. The mystery is cohesive, and is more than just the cherry on top.