Sinister City is a fantastic example of how hidden object games can very easily go very very wrong. I can tolerate a fair bit of nonsensical story, and weirdly unintuitive puzzles. However, when pretty much nothing about the game makes sense, you have to wonder how it got pushed through, even if it does retail for less than a buck.
I decided to play on the easier difficulty, figuring if it was obnoxiously easy, I could always restart it. Oddly, the game will tell you exactly what it wants you to do, but not how to do it. In fact, instead of the ubiquitous “Press Any Key to Continue”, Sinister City gives you “Touch Anywhere to Continue” which leads me to believe it’s a mobile port, although I can find no evidence of this.
A hidden object game really needs its hidden object scenes to be good if it wants the player to forgive other flaws, and this one doesn’t have that. Firstly, you occasionally need to move things in order to look behind them, but there are no visual hints to which objects are moveable and which aren’t, which leads to either a ton of misclicks, or abuse of the hint button. The second issue is that the “special” items you’re looking for in the upper left hand corner? Aren’t all in the hidden object scene! Again, abuse of the hint button led me to discover there are other interactable spots in the main scene (and sometimes, in other scenes entirely). This sort of feels to me like a cheap trick to make it appear that there’s more content.
I was willing to try to muddle through some more of the bizarre story – no, creepy hotel guy, I wanted a room, I don’t want your hypnosis machine, god. However, I soon hit the point where it was impossible for me to continue. The last of a set of special items I needed was hidden behind something, which the hint button solved for me, however, no matter how many times I clicked on the revealed piece, it wouldn’t register.
That was the end of my time with Sinister City. The plot is inane, the hidden object scenes – when they work – are irritating and neigh unsolvable without hints. I picked this up for $0.50 packaged with Alchemy Mysteries: Prague Legends, which was at least decent, so it wasn’t a total loss, but even $0.99 is way too pricey for this mess of a game.