Platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, Android, WinPhone
I’ve been playing a lot of hidden object adventure games lately because things around here have been less conducive to long periods of uninterrupted gaming than I would like. These games don’t have deep and/or unique mechanics, usually have an ok to good story, and are easy to put down and come back to. That said, they’re rarely worth the full asking price because most games of this type cap out at about 3 hours of play, with very little replay value.
First off, a warning, in case the title didn’t give it away – this game contains animated representations of snakes. Lots of ’em. If you twitch at just the thought of snakes, give this one a pass, ok?
The hidden object scenes play fair – there’s usually at least one item that’s hidden or that needs to be assembled (indicated by the blue text), but the logic behind these “tricky” objects is just fine. There’s no weird lighting or extraneous movement to distract you, and things pretty much look as you’d expect them to based on the descriptions.
9 Clues also has a lot of other types of puzzles to solve – some more challenging than others. There are several instances where you need to pick locks, and each time, you get a variation on a “lock pick” puzzle as seen below.
There are also several detective mode scenes, where you have to find clues without any text help. The cursor icon will blink faster as you approach a clue, adding a bit of hotter-colder game play into the mix. My biggest disappointment with the detective mode scenes is that once you’ve clicked on all the clues, the protagonist explains what they mean; I think it would have been more interesting if you needed to put them in order or something instead of merely finding them.
Completing the game took me just shy of 2.5 hours without skipping any puzzles, and with only leaving three achievements unfinished. I didn’t skip any of the puzzles, and I didn’t even think to use the map to fast travel until more than halfway through the game. For $10, that’s almost disappointingly short.
9 Clues: The Secret of Serpent Creek is a decent game in a genre where really terrible games abound. Although I have no real complaints, other than the length, there’s nothing fantastic to recommend it either.