Isla-Dorada--Episode-1:-The-Sands-of-Ephranis--iOS-Review Isla Dorada Episode 1: The Sands of Ephranis iOS Review

   18/05/2013 at 10:49       Drew Bower       3 COMMENTS. - Score 3/5
 - G5 Entertainment, Funforge Digital, Hidden Object, Casual, Puzzle

I’m pretty sure I have said this before, but I’ll repeat it anyway if for nothing else than to create something of an intro to the review: If you’re going to release a title that focuses pretty much entirely on hidden object scenes and features little else, then it needs to be pretty darn spectacular to make an impact on this heavily overcrowded genre. Step forward the latest contender to fight for a top spot then, in Isla Dorada – Episode 1: The Sands of Ephranis.

The initial interest in Isla Dorada comes with the Disney-esque Persian fantasy style visuals. They may be cartoonish, but they have a certain warming glow that helps envelop you into the fantasy world. The storyline sees you play as Jessica Pandora, a young archaeologist. After making a chance discovery, Jessica causes an ancient artefact to activate and is sent to a distant land. Only through finding hidden objects aplenty and solving the odd puzzle can she make her escape.

As alluded to in the opening paragraph, you’ll spend 95% of your time hovering up a seemingly never ending number of hidden objects. Seriously, there are loads of hidden objects scenes to plough through each with a gigantic list of items to find. The problem is, unless you’re some kind of obsessive compulsive when it comes to seeking out vaguely hidden items amongst other apparently unimportant objects, this can become quite tiresome. In fact, I recall uttering to myself that this could become a war of attrition in order to play through the whole thing.

The truth is, due to the fact each scene has dozens of hidden objects to find in quite a small area, you’ll be far too tempted to prod blindly at the screen until just a handful of items are left before you zoom in and actually try looking for them. Especially as the punishment for tapping too many times in quick succession is a small ‘cracked glass’ effect that disappears after a few moments.

You will encounter a handful of fairly basic logic and jigsaw puzzles that come as a welcome, albeit brief, break from the HO scenes. Sadly though, it’s just not enough to drag Isla Dorada above the level of fine but unspectacular.

Whilst nothing is broken or hideously wrong with the game, the repeated and rather laboured tasks just aren’t inspiring enough. The nice visuals help elevate the enjoyment levels somewhat, but it’s only to the point of making the game acceptable to hidden object fans.

Stars
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