Left in the Dark: No One on Board

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Left in the Dark: No One on Board on Steam

MSRP: $9.99 ($6.99 if bought here) / $4.99 (mobile)

Platforms: Win, Mac, Linux, iOS, Android, WinPhone, BlackBerry

Release: 8/20/13


Before I even really start to talk about this game, I want to complain a little bit.  I have no idea why publishers think that hidden object games should retail for twice as much on PC/Mac/Linux as they do on mobile platforms.  It’s gotten to be a common practice, which maybe has a lot to do with the suitability for these games on mobile, and the fact that people just aren’t willing to drop $10 on an app. But that’s no excuse for not keeping the price just as low for computers – these games are short, with very little replay value, as a rule.

Left in the Dark: No One on Board is no exception.  Like most games of the genre, a full play through clocks in around the two-hour mark, and I feel like I struggled more than usual with some of the hidden object scenes.  This game is also responsible for the single most annoying lock-picking puzzle I’ve ever played, and I picked a lot of locks through four Elder Scrolls games.

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There were a few scenes where lighting tricks were used to add artificial difficulty to the hidden object scenes.  There’s nothing that turns me off faster than the flash of lightning while I’m trying to find things.  There was also a lot of back & forth item gathering; enough that if I hadn’t been able to travel by map, I don’t know that I would have actually finished the game.

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Another small gripe I had was that not only could you skip cut scenes (by clicking the word “Skip” in the lower right hand corner), it would also skip if you clicked anywhere on the screen while the cut scene was in progress.  I learned that lesson quickly, and took my hand off the mouse when the movie started, because I couldn’t find any way to replay the scenes I did miss.

This might have been really irritating if the story was better, but it’s pretty run of the mill, investigate a mystery & discover the bad guy. It’s a formula that works, so I can’t fault it, but every now and then, it’d be nice to have some variety in the paper-thin plotlines.

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Left in the Dark: No One on Board is a decidedly average hidden object game in a sea of mediocrity.  I refuse to pay full price for this type of game, and I almost always get my money’s worth, however, I really think this entire genre tends to be overpriced, especially for the computer gamer.

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