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Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Strange Cases: The Tarot Card Mystery (2009)


While horror/thriller/suspense themed Hidden Object games may not lend themselves to the sort of scares that you'd get from a motion picture, some of them can have still provide engaging atmosphere and characters...

FBI Agent Claire Ellery is assigned to investigate a simple open and shut kidnapping case... but her tendency to attract strange cases soon causes events that propel her down a much more sinister path.  Her only lead are a series of tarot cards left by a silent and anonymous "friend"...

When it comes to casual game play- where there's no real pressure to hurry though the game, Hidden Object games are great.  You can work at them at your own pace.  You can either use the hint button provided to find something, or you can put your eyesight to the test and find the objects unaided.  The level of difficulty is really up to you.

That lack of stress is one of the things I liked about this game.  The scenes where the objects are hidden, and the various little mini-games are challenging- but not insurmountable.  There's no pressure to get onto the next scene.  The game- and the story, happen at your leisure.  This means you can just chill out and do a bit of the game here, and a bit there.

It helps that the game mechanics are easy to understand and use: find an object on the list, click the object, and move onto the next one.  The simplicity allowed me to not worry about strategy, and remembering what key or button does what.  I could simply sit there, sip my coffee and click click click away- sometimes even getting into a relaxing rhythm for each scene.

I also liked the story.  Each new development in the plot kept me interested, and enticed me into the temptation to keep going.  I gave into that temptation and just kept playing.

Agent Ellery is also a good character.  While there isn't a whole lot of character development for her in this game, there was enough to make me want to play others in the series in order to learn more about her and her adventures.

Since games like this don't have a lot of the action that most games have, the story and characters have to be well done in order to keep the player interested.  This game succeeded on both those counts in my opinion.

While the graphics may not be on par with your average X-Box 360 First Person Shooter, the illustrations used to tell the story, and for the hidden object scenes were impressive.  They helped to bring a nice tone and feel to the story.  The art style was quite pleasing to the eye, and enabled me to imagine I was essentially reading and interactive book.

Over all, I was quite pleased with "Strange Cases: The Tarot Card Mystery".  I would have very little problem waiting a few moths, then replaying it.  Because of that, I'm going to put it in The Good.

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