Platforms: PC, Linux, iOS
I consider myself a veteran of hidden object games, but to be frank, my preferred HoGs are the games that are almost entirely hidden object game play. Sure, toss in some story here in there if you need to, but I’d be completely content to just look for things all day long.
Alchemy Mysteries: Prague Legends is an adventure game with a few hidden object scenes. However, since I wasn’t aware of that at startup, I ran it in advanced mode. I don’t know if that made any difference in the overall difficulty, but I spend a lot of time flummoxed when outside of hidden object scenes.
While inside the hidden object scenes, you might see objects listed in blue or grey. Grey objects are somehow hidden and need to be uncovered. Blue objects are multiple parts – sometimes within the scene, and sometimes you need to retrieve a piece from your inventory. My only gripe with the hidden object portion of the gameplay is that there wasn’t enough of it for my taste.
The adventure game part of the game, though – that’s a whole different story. The voice acting was nothing spectacular, but it was serviceable. The overall look of the game (both the static scenes and the cut scenes) is good enough for what it is. However, the narrative flow was just downright wonky. Thank god for the tasks button, or I would have spent a good portion of the game wondering what the heck I was supposed to be doing at any given time.
The journal (lower right hand corner) allows you to review the story thus far in text form (in case you got slap happy with the continue button), but it also contains that most wonderful thing (and perhaps, the only thing that allowed me to complete the game).
The map not only allows you to fast travel (which is lovely), but will let you know if there’s something you need to do, see, or pick up in a given location. Sadly, you do need to manually travel to unexplored areas, but that’s a minor gripe. I didn’t discover the map until about 90 minutes in, and I estimate I was about 1/3 done with the game at that point. I managed to complete the remaining game in about the same amount of time after that.
So, all told, this game took about three hours to complete, with 14/15 achievements done. The only achievement I didn’t get was to complete the game without skipping a puzzle, because there’s only so long I’m willing to play with prisms and a beam of light before I give up. In my opinion, this game really does have zero replayability – even if the puzzles are hidden object scenes are slightly different on replay, it’s not worth slogging through all the stuff in between.
Which maybe makes it sound like I think this is an awful game. I don’t. I think it’s just fine for what it is. The story is somewhat disconnected, the jump scares really aren’t that scary (but I did think some of the effects were pretty damn cool). I even had a few really satisfying “Ah ha!” moments, but not nearly as many as times I smashed at the hint button in frustration.
I’m not sure I would have been able to deal with the amount of pixel hunting required on my phone, but it might not be too bad on a iPad. However, the PC/Linux version is the same price as the mobile, and is a lot easier on the eyes. I bought this game as part of a 2 pack with a very steep discount, but even if I had paid the asking price of $2, I would have had no regrets.