This may surprise you (especially considering I play so many casual games) but until recently I hadn’t played a hidden object game. There are now absolutely loads of them, mostly coming from Big Fish Games corner. As far as I know they kick started the genre with the very popular series – Mystery Case files (interestingly I tried to look up these facts on Wikipedia to see if I was correct or not, but can find no mention of the genre, although they do have a few of the games listed).
For those who don’t know hidden object games are games containing rooms full of objects that must be found. The concept is very simple but they can be a real challenge.
As my entry into the world of Hidden Object Games I decided to give “The Magicians Handbook: Cursed Valley” a go.
In the Magician’s Handbook you start off as a novice Magician and are tasked with finding the required objects for use in various spells. Once you have found all the required objects you must perform the spell by completing one of a couple of other types of mini-game (colour matching and a new kind of word search).
The searching itself gets spread across a number of rooms, each of which get revisited on different occasions. The further you get into the game the harder the searches become and the more items you have to find. On top of this you have “distractions” in each room. These start of relatively minor, but in some cases involve the room going almost completely black. Thankfully there is a spell that lets you ward off the distractions letting you search in peace.
The rooms you search through are nicely drawn, although I would guess they are by a variety of different artists, and the quality varies. Often the items you have to find are relatively straight forward, although well hidden, but sometimes you have some harder items (eg darwin = little fish with legs symbol). This adds some extra challenge to proceedings and makes things all the more satisfying when you do finally solve the clues.
The game itself is well put together and suitably challenging. I must admit I wasn’t overly keen on the mini-games at the end of each level although I can understand why they were included. I feel that this was a good first choice for a Hidden Object game and I will be playing more in the future.