Having reviewed the two previous Letters From Nowhere titles, and been left feeling underwhelmed on each occasion, I was curious to see if Awem Studio had finally delivered something special. Spoiler alert: They haven’t.
To quickly recap on the previous two games, they are very traditional hidden object games that had no real inherent faults and actually had some nice ideas such as the use of ‘power ups’ that temporarily helped you out. But they just didn’t have the gloss to make them into something worth recommending. Thus, one might assume that if you were charged with creating a follow up, adding that extra sparkle whilst keeping the same solid gameplay would be the way to go.
Awem Studio evidently disagree with that theory to the point they poured lighter fluid onto it, set it on fire and then washed the embers down the toilet. If only they actually added a bit of fire and action into the gameplay, it might have actually helped!
I’ve waffled on long enough already without actually pointing out why this game is so utterly pointless. Initially things start out quite normal, being dropped into a map with various locations and entering into the first scene. The warning signs begin right away though with just three totally random objects given to find.
Back on the map and little icons begin to appear on the left side of the screen indicating special items that are in some way part of the story narrative. Although that should be taken very loosely as it’s nothing more than a sentence or two and well, as you will find out shortly, don’t really make much of a story. You tap on one and are directed towards the location it supposedly is currently hiding. However instead of finding that one particular item, you are instead given just six objects to find, none of which are the story related item.
After finding them and are taken back to the map screen, you are told you’ve found the special item and are ready to move on to the next one. You also begin to accumulate random parts of numerous collections – you get them for a variety of reasons from finding items in a combo, to simply playing the game for five days straight. There was even one collection that needed to be earned by playing the game five days in a row at any time between the hours of midnight and 5am! I don’t know which is more worrying – the fact that someone might actually do it, or that I somehow found myself playing the game during those hours one night to discover its existence...
What quickly dawns on you when playing is that the game is centred around making in-app purchases. Puzzles can only be opened when you’ve found enough black cats, extra locations can only be visited once you’ve purchased them or found enough stamps and are at a high enough level... As always with these types of games, you can play through the game without spending a penny, but the truth is you’re going to have to grind your way for hour upon hour that way. Which makes this game very curious: Why on earth would anyone pay to speed up a hidden object game – and not a very good one at that – when there are a multitude of much better HOG’s to play that have a proper storyline and structure?
It’s not often that I struggle to find at least something positive to say about a game, but in this case I genuinely am stumped. As a hidden object game, it’s pretty standard and suffers from many of the genres worst faults such as stupidly placed objects that constantly repeat along with the same locations. The story is a stretch to say the least and the whole idea of grinding through a hidden object game leaves me totally bemused.
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Haha, no! Truth is, the head PR person at G5 has been my main contact through the days of Chillingo, BulkyPix and now G5E. They keep sending them to me to review, so I figure I may as well. Especially as they occasionally break things up with other types of games that are pretty good.
Plus my 'proper' game playing time is heavily limited these days and they are fairly quick to run through in the week or so before are released.