Friday, January 9, 2015

Game Review - Rite of Passage: Hide and Seek

Game Review - Rite of Passage: Hide and Seek
Score: +8/-2
Summary: Interesting and fantastical story. Pacing and variety is very good. Believable action by the protagonist helps to maintain immersion. One of the better Hidden Object Games available and highly recommended.

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.
+- Character animations choppy but artwork overall very good. Also, not everyone is Kim Kardashian or Brad Pitt.
- 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 the game or parts of the game, such as replaying hidden object game scenes to score achievements with better time and accuracy -- unlike other games, where you typically can't rollback to redo anything unless you located and backed up your savegame first. And achievements give you an actual reason to do it again and better.
+ Post-game mini-games.
++ Interesting story with a variety of environments and locations. Unexpected and dramatic scenes keep the game lively. It is often easy to just get bored looking for hidden objects and flip from one screen to the next. Good use of event-driven scenes and plot advancement.
+ Believable action by the character. You are an "average person" who isn't suddenly a powerful fighter or wizard. End game "boss fight" does not involve actual "combat", but competition. This is much more believable than in many hidden object games that simply thrust the protagonist into heroics from zero to hero. Careful crafting of the story and backstory makes this possible.
+1-0 Tries to get you to invest more in the character/action through dialogue choices, but other than a few immediate changes in dialogue, there is ultimately no branching story arc: Characters still you encounter still do the same thing and the story progresses in the same way -- even if it is implausible. For example, in Hope's Edge you meet someone who offers you a device at the end of your first conversation, whether you were nice or a jerk in your dialogue. Why would they offer to help you at all, with the sole reason being that you might be interested in their invention? At the very end of the game, your "morality" locks out a possible ending, but because you are already at the end of the game, you just get a slightly different cutscene. Points for trying, but ultimately a disappointing false sense of choice and an empty threat of consequence.
+0-0 Tries to expand the action through the use of "pets" and skills, but the usage is too predictable (often they outright tell you to use the skill) to be worth forcing the player to click an extra button.