The game has more than 20 hours of engaging gameplay spread across 4 chapters, with over 60 different kinds of puzzles varying from visual to analytical challenges, 8 time-bound tasks including accelerometer-based challenges: including Wood Chopping, Traffic Control, Flower Picking, Path Tracking, Nugget Nabbing, Potion Brewing, Danger Express and a Bat Hunt. Also entertaining mini games involving jumble words and jigsaws.
Hidden-object elements to win Eurekas to unlock puzzle hints the ability to buy extra Eureka packages via in-app purchases. There 90 beautiful hand-drawn scenes combined with 35 interesting characters knitted into an engrossing storyline.
When you start the game you enter your name into a profile page, therefore you’re able to have various profiles as we found when the girls set up their own profiles to also have a go at the game. The imagery does look real nice, and my expectation of a Monkey Island type experience grew. I pressed play and was taken to a cut scene giving me the background to the story that I was about to embark upon. The game started in a scene with the main characters and I was away.
Iâ€™m not going to describe the whole experience of course, Iâ€™ll leave that for you to go through. But here are some of my impressions. I mentioned that I was hoping for a Monkey Island type experience, well unfortunately that, it isnâ€™t. The storyline is fine to follow but as the game went on I found myself jumping through the chats that appear as it seemed of little use in hearing them or reading them, the game is really a conduit to getting to the next puzzle. As you go through the scenes you have to collect Eurekas, of course you donâ€™t have to collect them, but itâ€™s probably advisable to do so. The interaction between the cut scenes, and clicking on objects and people to interact with them, itâ€™s one thing that I felt was more an annoyance rather than an enjoyable part of the game. But as Iâ€™ve said in other reviews, perhaps that just shows my impatience.
But to relate to a game like Monkey Island where you have choices of what to interact with and what routes to take, well this game leads you all the way rather than giving you varied choices. Now for younger gamers that is fine, as Iâ€™m sure they can get frustrated in getting caught up in a loop, for me though it was a part of the game that could have been enhanced. I also think that there was no constancy in the characters and the period. It seems to have been set in one period but you certainly get a mix of other periods appearing, but thatâ€™s a small quibble which after the first time you spot it youâ€™ll get used to it. All this is a shame because the drawings and the backdrops have been done really nicely and suit the look and feel well.
Early on youâ€™ll get the real idea of the game, and that is to solve a varied selection of puzzles that once done allows you to move on with the storyline. Remember, there is a specific storyline to follow. Now most of the puzzles give you the ability to use those Eurekas that I told you to collect. You will gain a couple of hints, you can also use them to skip a particular puzzle if itâ€™s giving you a major problem, but skipping a puzzle costs a quite a few more Eurekas of course. One point here, I did once skip a puzzle by mistake, you have flick up the scroll that appears that tells you about skipping and I hit the skip button as I went to flick the scroll back up, so be careful. One thing I was a little concerned by was the fact that you can also buy Eurekas within app purchases, this concerned me as I thought I might need to do this to get through the game. This was not the case however, I must say I donâ€™t like the idea that games do this, but hey thatâ€™s just me.
Once youâ€™ve done the puzzle youâ€™ve hopefully earned some golden nuggets. The less attempts you take at a puzzle the more nuggets you earn. What do nuggets mean? Points, but points are only useful if youâ€™ve turned on the social sharing capability at the beginning when you first start up the game, although it may also relate to some bonus puzzles that maybe I missed. Once a puzzle is complete you are taken back to the next cut scene and the story continues.
On route through the game you will also collect picture snippets of various shapes to create a picture, and also some cue cards which are puzzles you can do at any time during the course of the game. You get to these by clicking on the rucksack you gain early on and picking one of the options. These options include the ability to save the game at 3 separate timelines, see your stats, and a few other choices.
It took around 8 hours gameplay to complete. There were some parts I didnâ€™t unlock, but even so, that is somewhat below the 20 hours stated. My daughters are also playing the game and enjoying it as well. So for 0.59 pence or 0.99 cents itâ€™s certainly worth a look, and as I mentioned at the start, the puzzles are varied and enjoyable to do. I did find one puzzle where I know I had the correct solution and either because I wasnâ€™t placing the items in the right place, or the game wanted me to give a different answer, I had to use my Eurekas to move on. That was a tad annoying. Sometimes my larger fingers couldnâ€™t quite hit the right part of the screen but overall there was no problem with using the touch screen to manipulate the puzzles. I did try the game on the iPad, and doubled up the screen, and of course the imagery didnâ€™t look quite as good, but some puzzles were easier to manipulate. There is no syncing, so you either play on one device or the other.
I have a feeling that this could move into a series of adventures for the main characters. The developers will have to make sure that they create different and new puzzles. Also, more interactivity with choices that the characters have to make would improve the interactivity of the game. If that happens I certainly will be buying the next Jim and Frank adventure. If you’re on a long trip and want a game thatâ€™s not a straight forward shooter with nice graphics, at $0.99 cents give The Blood River a go.