Sep 23, 2016
Make no mistake: NCIS is a cultural icon. I remember picking it up all the way back… you know, when that intense agent from the “Navy NCIS” (ha!) who first tried to put JAG darling Harmon Rabb behind bars — but the helping clear his name. With that simple beginning, that CBS spin-off has gone big, creating its own offshoots, and, for folks like us, companion games that help beget mindshare.
NCIS: Hidden Crimes is just that.
The action gets going almost immediately, with animated cutscenes allowing one to catch a glimpse of something nefarious. Then, just like on the show, Gibbs’ likeness pops up, letting us (the players/viewers) know about an untimely death somewhere in the city.
In this one, the crime has been committed, and the player, being a special agent, gets his/her “gear” on heads to the crime scene. At this point, the main foil of the adventure becomes clear: find objects. The trick, which is obvious to anyone who plays this type of game, is to pick out a list of objects that are placed in a larger scene. In this particular game, the objects are key to solving the crime at hand, starting by going into each visual puzzle and tap on the objects to “collect” them.
After objects are found, generally a secondary process begins. Evidence is analyzed and such, and eventually, a hypothesis might be formed, and, if one picks right, one might just get the person responsible.
So, the finding mechanism is enough to understand; the difficulty of the surveying task is mostly a function of the artwork in any level. It feels as though it gets tougher as one goes on, but the developer does an enviable job of using depth and simulated light to make targets less obvious to the eye. The crime-solving piece is a nice addition too.
The game feels a bit grindy in parts; the energy requirement isn’t too bothersome, and the artwork does make it feel somewhat familiar. On the other hand, it’s tough to make a hidden object game stand out, because the core element is so well known.
In the end, its hit show affiliation only helps, and the gameplay does well.