Drew Bower3 comments
Tags: G5 Entertainment, Fenomen Games, Hidden Object, Casual, Point and Click
Do I need to paint you a picture?
The biggest problem with specialising in a certain genre and especially so when games are released close together, is that they can all begin to blend into one. Making a title stand out or be different from the rest often gets lost in the basic formula approach. With hidden object games, this is an even trickier process – after all, how much can you elaborate on finding stuff amongst other stuff? Most often the only variable utilised by developers is the storyline and location settings.
Lost Souls: Enchanted Paintings, the latest release from casual kings G5 Entertainment, is a bit different because it heavily features point ‘n’ click elements alongside the traditional HOG sections. Gameplay still takes place over single screens, so there’s no movement involved – merely collecting key items is the name of the game. The two styles have been cleverly woven together meaning it never goes too far towards one genre and thus alienating certain players. It also stays well within the ‘casual’ boundaries making this a pretty chilled out experience whilst still retaining enough challenge.
The story begins when a mysterious painting is delivered to Bella’s house. Her son, typical of the youth of today, insists on the painting being hung on his bedroom wall. During the night, the painting comes alive and envelops the boy inside the canvas. Bella is left with no choice but to rescue the child by helping out otherworldly people inside other paintings.
To start each level you must rather needlessly dust the painting clean. Once done, you jump in and discover your main objective. After a brief chat, you’ll need to tap on anything that looks useful or you might be able to interact with (even for a later date). Once you’ve nabbed everything of use and uncovered all hot spots the game will helpfully inform you that there’s nothing more to do here and let you choose the next destination. In each location there is usually someone or something to talk to and give you further tasks.
You’ll end up having to leave and revisit most locations a few times, but because there are only a handful of areas, it never feels too repetitive wandering around through ‘blank’ screens. Plus, if you’ve found something new, it’s a fair assumption you can use it fairly quickly which helps give the feeling of progression at all times.
When it comes to the hidden object sections, it’s pleasing to see a bit of thought has gone into keeping them feeling fresh. They take the form of two styles: text and icon lists and each searchable area will have a version of each. Having the two styles helps to reduce the repetitiveness that can occur when revisiting the same areas in other games.
There are 25 locations to visit spread over 9 levels so there’s a decent sized adventure to be had. My only gripe is that to discover the full story, you’ll have to shell out some extra coinage. In the full version you will get to rescue Bella’s son, but it’ll cost you extra if you want to avenge his kidnapping. Or you can purchase the collector’s edition and save yourself a few pennies, which is well worth doing.
From the dramatic opening sequence to the final encounter Lost Souls is one of the best hidden objects games to come from G5 Entertainment. The extra little touches help it stand above the solid yet average attempts and thus if you’re thinking of trying a HOG for the first time, or you only cherry pick your purchases, then this one is easily recommended.
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