PopCap Games is now porting their best selling PC titles to the Nintendo DS. Their first attempt is a game that fits the system perfectly, as it is a search-and-find title that utilizes the touch screen and stylus interface. The game is all about being given a picture and finding hidden objects in the picture; this means that while the top screen shows a zoomed out view of the area, and the up to ten objects you are currently looking for, the bottom screen is used to find those objects.
The game has 18 locations to look for objects in. There are 20 levels, and for each level there are a few locations where you need to find up to 10 objects. When you find all 10 objects you go to another location until you find all the objects for that level. Once you find all the objects for a level you get to play a mini-game to finish the level. The mini-games consist of Memory Match, Jigsaw Puzzle, Tile rotate, Mah-Jongg Match, and Word Puzzle.
Dec. 15, 2008
The search-and-find locations allow the player to move the zoom window around with the directional pad, the a/b/x/y pad, or using the stylus. If you click and drag you can move the screen around as well. To find an object, click on the screen where the object is. This mimics the use of a mouse on a computer, though with the stylus you can press directly on the area. The objects are sometimes small though, so they can be hard to find.‚ Some of them will also be hidden as decoration in other objects; for example, you need to find an ear, but the ear is found as an etching in a tree, or the star you are looking for is a decorative part of a chair.
The difficulty increases as the game progresses. Initially, umbrellas are referred to as “umbrellas” , then are labeled as “parasols.” Another example is “horse shoes” become “lucky shoes” or “esquire shoes.” They also will say find two eyes and one of them might be an eye ball, where the other one is the word “eye” painted on the wall.
The game does offer one helping part to the search. There is a hint button at the bottom that will move the screen so that an object is on the screen. Part of the screen will also shine, helping you zoom in on the object. If you have multiple objects left to find you never know which one it will focus in on, so it’s probably better to find all of the objects you can first, in order to avoid pointing you towards objects you already knew of. Don’t spam the hint button though, as the game penalizes you for its use, and has a delay set up in between uses.
The game does get a little tedious because of the limited number of locations. Once you’ve been to a location more than once you’ll start to remember where some objects are, which makes it easier to search there again. This also makes it easier when they change the names, because the player has seen the objects before and can remember what they found before and realize the new name. There are nearly 40 objects in every location though, so it’s still likely to have at least one new object each time you go to that location. Though with 10 objects per level it’s also likely you will see ones you’ve found before.
After the levels, you play a mini-game. These play out another portion of the story, and are designed somewhat like boss levels. They switch things up in these mini-game portions sometimes though; in Mah-Jongg or Memory, you will have to match up objects based on on association or similarities instead of just exact matches.
I thought the game was a lot of fun, and think it works better as a DS game than as a PC game. I was fairly addicted to it until I finished it, which goes to show how well a simple concept can work sometimes. My most significant complaint is that the game’s storyline was not that great, though it’s to be expected in this type of game as well. Beyond that, the actual gameplay is fun, so fans of the genre should give this game a look.
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