Monday, December 15, 2014

Game Review - Nevertales: Smoke and Mirrors

Game Review - Nevertales: Smoke and Mirrors
Score: +6/-4
Summary: Interesting and fantastical story. Pacing and variety is good. Interesting use of Achievements for replay value. Unlimited casino games for even more replay value.

In many ways, criticisms in review will apply to many contemporary hidden object games, and are not to be taken as faults unique to this game.
+- For the most part artwork is very nice, but character animations when speaking, through the use of image distortion instead of actual facial animation, make the characters look disturbing rather than realistic. This is much improved from previous Nevertales games, however.
- Fuzzy cutscenes, especially if you play on higher resolutions.
+ Convenient replays of hidden object games for achievements involving spotting "morphing items". Because this unlocks achievements and further features, it really helps to have the replay available without having to replay the entire game. Also, if you are only missing a morphing object in a hidden object game, you can just locate that object in the replay instead of completely replaying the hidden object game scene.
+ Achievements for replay value: You can replay hidden object game scenes to score achievements with better time and accuracy -- unlike other games, where you typically can't rollback to redo a scene unless you located and backed up your savegame first.
+ Casino games for even more replay value. None of these are hidden object games, but rather a mix of casino games and arcade games.
- Some sloppy hidden object scenes, such as this one with a non-intuitive answer.
+- Interesting story with a variety of environments and some tense cutscenes where you really don't know how you will end up. They do try hard to keep the momentum and tension, although this is pretty impossible to do in a hidden object game where you can have as much time as you like. However, implausibly hidden items (e.g., a musical instrument hidden behind a stone in a castle outer wall) make you take the hidden objects games less seriously and pull you out of story immersion.
+-0Good use of unexpected choices in the game. For a fuller review of this feature, see our previous blog post. Although ultimately it falls short of its potential, it is still a novelty in the hidden object game market at this time.

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