Posts created by sfr8rfan

 
 
Review Addendum:

As with all games, Reflections of Life: Dark Architect Collector's Edition, is loved by some and hated by others.

I love the game, but I am a puzzle lover and this game has puzzles galore. Even the HOS have puzzles attached to them. The game itself refers to Full screen puzzles and Mini puzzles. Full screen puzzles are what we typically see as mini-puzzles and mini-puzzles are smaller screen puzzlers that must be solved in order to find things and to complete HOS.

If you don't like puzzles and HOS you will not like this game. I myself typically like a game which is story-driven and, certainly, considered more an adventure and puzzle than HOG.

I find great value in this game...so far at least. I've only played just over an hour. I was moved to buy it after the trial. This is a rarity for me anymore. This game is special.
 
 
4 of 4
STORYLINE
A universe constructed of many worlds is under attack by an evil monster (the source of which I have not yet discovered). Its initial personification reminds me of a cross between a White Walker (of Game of Thrones fame) and the Creature from the Black Lagoon.

Speaking of White Walkers, the devastation that is caused by the Evil One (for lack of a defining name) comes in the form of "ice as destruction." Earthquakes are another destructive force oft-referenced in Dark Architect. Both cases symbolize the inverse of architecture.

I'm not sure where the story is headed but I know that it is framed by the Platonic concepts of Good and Evil. The story is interesting. Yes, it's fantasy, of course. Do yourself a favor and suspend your disbelief. You'll enjoy using the various fantastic tools you discover in your effort to overcome Evil and ensure that the Good prevails..

As a consequence of the beauty of the game's sights and sounds, the challenges of the game's HOS and Puzzles, and a fascinating and ever-developing story line, I think this game has a chance to be my all-time favorite. Clearly, it's my favorite of the "fantasy" genre already.

I strongly recommend this game. For those of you who, like myself, find "fantasy" themes less than attractive, generally, do not be deterred. The theme has not only not been a distraction, it is part of what makes this game so attractive.
 
 
3 of 4
Hidden Object Scenes: There are various types, and this game refers to them as Hidden Object Puzzles. You can read all about them in the reviews of others who may have already completed the game. (Personally, I prefer to skip "previews of next week's show" and enjoy the mystery of what's to come.) In any even, suffice it to say that there is a serious degree of creativity shown in the few HOG I have encountered thus far. There isn't one plain "list find" among the very few I played. In one, there is a list. I had to find the items...but then there were accompanying challenges. The challenges are really the "mini-puzzles." I HOPE the creativity doesn't wain as I progress. There is no indication that it will.

Mini-Puzzles: Are referred to as Full Screen Puzzles to distinguish them from the mini-puzzles which accompany HOS. There seem to be far more mini-puzzles than HOG.
While I have yet to encounter something completely new, I think each puzzle I've played has had a very distinct twist which adds challenge. Some have referred to them as mainly easy, but I think there's a very satisfying level of challenge.

Skip/Hint: Oddly, there isn't the ability to completely disable skipping and hinting buttons, but in hardcore mode the skip refreshment time is 8 minutes. Yes. 480 seconds. The hint refreshment time is 2 minutes. In custom mode both can be set at 500 seconds maximum. This is pretty close to not having skip or hint available.

To be continued...
 
 
2 of 4
What you hear: Great background music that speeds up and slows down, grows louder or softer, appropriately, based on the urgency of the moment. It has the sound of excellence and I feel like the developers paid particular attention to the details of voices and sound effects, and most definitely the score which frames and supports the game.

Lip synching combines what is seen and heard and at this point it's the only negative I have to say about Dark Architect. It's very poorly done. BUT, in the context of the rest of the features of the game...who cares. It's a very minor annoyance, and still far better than not even taking a stab at lip-synching. It's surprising, to me, though, in a game which displays technical superiority in every other aspect. I hope GrandMA will work on this in the future.

LEVEL OF CHALLENGE
Absolutely excellent, based on the level of difficulty chosen for gameplay.

Difficulty Modes: As I mentioned, I chose HARDCORE. This level features an unchanging cursor (called an "icon" in the menu). There is no indication of the work to be done anywhere. If you don't click, you might as well turn off your computer. I don't recommend hardcore mode for Carpal Tunnel sufferers. There are 2 other set modes plus a custom mode.

If you are up for a serious challenge and are willing to spend hours (OF KNOCK YOUR SOCKS OFF FUN) to play this game, I heartily recommend jumping in with a blindfold and handcuffs. Eschew the extra help and experience the thrill of discovery.

Collectibles: Called Observers, these are well-hidden. The only relief is a notification if you've found all the available "observers" in a scene.

I briefly switched to casual mode to see if the cursor changes when hovering over collectible items. IT DOESN'T!!!! Three cheers for not robbing gamers of a very expensive challenge (considering the cost of Collector's Edition). Conversely, this remarkable restraint alone, given the trends in gaming today, justifies the purchase of a CE, in my opinion. I believe there are 65 collectibles throughout the game.

To be continued...
 
 
1 of 4
THE ROMAN COLOSSEUM, PONT DU GARD, STONEHENGE: DARK ARCHITECT BELONGS IN THIS GROUP OF ARCHITECTURAL WONDERS!

Typically, I have a visceral reaction to games that portray fantasy Queens in their introductory blurb. In the opening credits "GrandMA Studios" is represented by a kitten and a ball of pink yarn: another visceral reaction.

This was my lucky day. I pressed the PLAY NOW button on the screen after linking to Tomorrow's Game Today.

While this game will not change my general response to Fairy Princesses and Charming Princes, the reality is, this game is iconoclastic. It is certainly not what I expected and it has broken the mold...or, better, created a new mold.

WHAT A GAME

I've played the one hour trial. After that, I immediately purchased the game without any more hesitation. I had to have it.

I'm playing on a Mac Book Pro using Operating System 10.9.5. I'm playing the game in the "Hardcore Mode."

FUN FACTOR
I bought immediately. I must be having a great time.

VISUAL/SOUND QUALITY
What you see: A cavalcade of color. Bright reds and oranges, blues and greens. Nothing particularly soft or pastel-like in this game. The colors reach out and grab. They don't just invite. They pull you in.

Objects are clearly drawn. Characters are particularly well-drawn: often times feelings such as fear and trepidation, anxiety and relief are poorly portrayed in the games we play...because they're difficult emotions to capture. This game does so better than I've ever seen. Usually game artists resort to comic strip-like simplicity because of the challenge of accurately portraying such foundational emotions. GrandMA's designers did not take the easy way out. Visually, this is a real treat.

The "movie" at the beginning of the game depicts a geologic explosion of massive proportions. This cataclysm gives the design artists an opportunity to flex their creative muscle: we view the destruction of a very Roman-like urbanity in ancient times. We see a city exploding, viewing it from above, from below, from the side. Each perspective bringing the devastation front and center. There is some very serious artistic rendering...nearly worth the price of admission just to see this "live" art on the screen.

A balcony and its balustrade crumble as in an earthquake and "the Queen" free-falls backwards. Her face is a catalog of emotions. At that moment I sensed the beginnings of something great.

To be continued...
 
 
 posted in Spirit of Revenge: Gem Fury on Jan 10, 16 1:36 AM
Part 2 of 2
LEVEL OF CHALLENGE
Hidden Object Scenes: are well drawn. They are not junk piles. They provide a bit of a challenge, but nothing exceptional. There are several formats.

Mini-Puzzles: these are the GEMS of Gem Fury! There are many games and some of them are absolutely NEW to me. They aren't just new twists on familiar games, but brand new. This is exciting to discover during the course of play and I'm not going to give anything away…experience it for yourself. Suffice it to say, you will enjoy this. To me, this is worth the price of admission alone. There is even a Rube Goldberg super-puzzle in this game!

The Collector’s Edition includes Morphing Objects and each scene has one. The designers did not give in to the challenge-robbing cursor-as-hand-while-hovering-over-the-beyond-object trend that is the norm lately. Though only a little difficult to find, at least the morphing objects are not the total bust that so many games de-feature.

Collectible Items are also featured in the Collector’s Edition. They are personal mementoes of the young children who are the "co-objects" of our attention in the game. These are found in the normal course of play. Finding them is not a challenge at all.

STORYLINE
As with many, if not most of these games, you must suspend your disbelief. That’s the nature of “entertainment” whether a movie or a game. you'll enjoy Gem Fury. The storyline is coherent and logical (after admitting that it's totally impossible....) In the PAST: a teacher has been accused of misdeeds. She's disappeared and a number of children with her. In the Present: more children are disappearing. There's a connection! Gem Fury is about finding the connection.

This is an excellent game and I recommend it highly.

CE or SE?
In the CE the included morphs are not central to the game’s story. The collectibles, while directly related, are not challenging, so they really aren’t a bonus. The strategy guide is helpful (if you allow yourself to use it). There is the regular assortment of "who cares?" extras. I think the value of the CE is found in the bonus chapter and strategy guide and, to me, the bonus chapter is much less satisfying than the main game.

VERDICT: The SE will do nicely at a very approachable price or free, if you have a coupon.
 
 
 posted in Spirit of Revenge: Gem Fury on Jan 10, 16 1:35 AM

Part 1 of 2
A GEM OF A GAME!
I was pleasantly surprised by the collector’s edition of “Spirit of Revenge: Gem Fury.” I have two other games in the Spirit of Revenge series but I have not reviewed them and I don't remember them (time to replay, methinks).

I've completed the main portion of the game and the bonus chapter on a Mac Book Pro with Operating System 10.9.5.

Gem Fury is a story-driven game with exceptional puzzles that move the game and the story, forward. This is exactly the type of game that I like.

FUN FACTOR
Once again, the ultimate test is whether or not I keep coming back to play with alacrity or with a big "ho hum." I couldn't wait to get back to this. Consequently, Fun Factor rates very high.

VISUAL/SOUND QUALITY
What You See: if there's a feature of the game that could be improved upon, it's the visuals. Though not bad, they lack the crystal clarity that we've seen in other great games. Still, the "items" are well drawn and the scenery is colorful. There's one scene in particular, a carnival locale, that's bright and perfectly rendered.

In many HOS you may have noticed that items are not always drawn with dimensional integrity (a button that's drawn to be the same size as a watch, for instance). This is not the case with Spirit of Revenge: Gem Fury. This is to be appreciated.

What You Hear: there are several voice actors who play the roles of boys and girls. They do quite credible jobs. The couple of adult characters leave a bit to be desired, though. The adult narrator is excellent-the perfect voice for telling a story.

More importantly to me than the actors is the soundtrack/score. It is perfect. It sets a tone of urgency and impending discovery. There isn't active “terror” in this game and the music isn't "scary." So, in addition to well-chosen music, the producers have exhibited artistic restraint as well.

To Be Continued...
 
 
Yesterday I reviewed Hidden Expedition: Fountain of Youth, heaping high praise on it. My, how quickly things can change in a day!

Labyrinths of the World: Changing the Past is a hot mess. Like Hidden Expedition: Fountain of Youth, there is much to do while "Changing the Past." The similarity ends there.

If you get a kick out of left clicking with your mouse, you'll love this game. And, your "hit rate" will be high: I realized early on that everywhere and every time I clicked I either collected a figurine or a puzzle piece or I found inventory objects or ignited several fires which came blazing out of roofs. Just click and something happens.
There's a VERY complex...and incomprehensible…story line to Labyrinths of the Past: In the hour I played I...
a. …encountered a gossipy maid, Mrs. Watson?, who dislikes...
b. ...her employer's very chipper, yet wheelchair-confined, fiancé who is allegedly FAKING A FATAL ILLNESS (and I thought that only happened on Law and Order SVU)...
c. ...causing my friend, Peter, the master of the Mansion, to search the world over for a cure for Debby's Downer of a Disease, even though he has suddenly become evil...a result of donning a mask, according to the protagonist (gamer) which also causes fire to come out of Peter's fingertips at will...after which I...
d. ...extracted a thorn from a dog's paw, for which the pooch rewarded me with a batard of freshly baked bread (an incredible achievement, really, as I can't cook a thing when I have a thorn in my foot)...
e. ...bread that was very useful, as I then transported back in time from present-day USA to the ancient Roman Empire (in the time of Magnus Crassus (The Great Fat One) WITH THE BREAD that...
f. ...I gave to a hungry, old, indigent living on the street, who...
g. ...was promptly arrested by the Roman guards when they realized the bread was HOT (I'm telling you, that dog really appreciated me removing the thorn from his paw) and deduced that it had to be stolen because he doesn't have a kitchen...but he does have balls...
h. ...because, in reality, though he is not a baker, he is an accomplished juggler, who offered to distract the Roman guards, thereby facilitating my escape, once I supplied him with two balls, only one of which was blue.

Busy, right?!? And, not just collecting things, but doing things...at home and abroad, today and 2000 years ago. If you like to collect lots of THINGS and expand your inventory, you'll love this game.

I do not.
 
 
3 of 3
COLLECTOR’S EDITION
This Collector's Edition has all the things you'd expect to find: the "who cares?" assortment of screen savers, re-playable music, etc.; a bonus chapter in which the protagonist is a member of Magellan's crew; an ordinary and unexciting list of achievements; the two sets of collectibles; an integrated strategy guide; and, a transporting map.

Do you need to buy the Collector's Edition? Is it worth it? Should you wait for the SE?

Here's my opinion:
a. There have been a couple of Ravenhearst series games (both exceptional, in my opinion) recently. Both are very dark. The Dalimars are evildoers with warped minds. Expedition has bad guys as well, but they aren't psychopaths (they're just sociopaths).

Verdict: Expedition is just the right change of pace now and a great way to start the new gaming year.

b. As mentioned earlier, while the mini-puzzles could have used an infusion of “hard to solve.” the HOGs and collectibles are fine and quite challenging. Also, my experience is that the bonus chapters in Expedition games are excellent.

Verdict: The extras in Fountain make me want this whole game NOW.

c. I live in the San Francisco Bay Area and even though we've had a several-year drought, the rain has been falling steadily for a week. (I think there should be a game with "El Nino" as the back drop!). It's been a pleasure to see the bright blue skies of Fountain of Youth.

Verdict: Fountain is just the cure for Rainy Days and Mondays.

I heartily recommend Hidden Expedition: Fountain of Youth Collector’s Edition
 
 
2 of 3
LEVEL OF CHALLENGE
It's here where I find that a higher degree of difficulty would have yielded a Five Star rating.

HOG: As I wrote earlier, the scenes are well-drawn and not junk piles. The items are difficult to find as a result of good blending not because they're unidentifiable.

Mini-Puzzles: There is a variety but they are not particularly puzzling. I haven't yet played a game that's a new idea. All are recycled versions of familiar games. Not only are they retreads, but, so far, they aren't as difficult as some of their predecessors. I'm hoping that as I progress in the game I'll encounter a few that are new and tough.

Collectibles: There are 41 collectibles, one in each scene. They are well placed. In fact, they are about the best "hidden" collectibles I've encountered. They aren't hidden in stupid places. They're in clear view. I struggle to find them, though, and once I do, I wonder how I missed them in the first place.

There are also "fact cards" which teach fun facts about the voyages of Ferdinand Magellan. Do you remember your grade school and high school history/geography? Magellan was the first explorer to circumnavigate the earth...and to my knowledge, had nothing to do with the Fountain of Youth. Still, there's a lot of rich material in these fact cards. Difficult to find, however, they are not.

STORYLINE
This game is an excellent example of what can happen when a good story meets with good gaming. As with earlier Eipix Expedition games, Fountain of Youth is based, at least nominally, on historical events. I think this is typically a good starting point for a great game.

The fiction is that a group of "bad guys" are disrupting the restoration of artifacts at Sigiriya, an ancient city/palace in the Central Province of Sri Lanka. Three "good guys" from HELP (the Hidden Expedition League of Preservation) have been taken captive by "bad guys" (ok, two bad guys and one bad "gal"). As the protagonist/gamer, our job is to find the captive colleagues, avoid the criminals and find out exactly why they're disrupting the whole project.

To be continued
 
 
1 of 3
Like it's more recent iterations, this Hidden Expedition, “The Fountain of Youth,” is very promising.

I've completed BFG’s hour-long free trial on a MacBook Pro using OS 10.9.5.

After a couple of initial entries in the genre in 2011 and 2012, this series took a serious turn for the better. Hidden Expedition is a winning series and Eipix regularly introduces multiple games each year since 2012.

I feel like the winner in the production schedule: in my review of Smithsonian Hope Diamond I referred to the game as "exceptional" and I suggested that "dawn is rarely so prosperous" in my review of Dawn of Prosperity. The quality of Fountain of Youth is very similar to these other editions.

FUN FACTOR
Although my strong preference is for games weighted toward mini-puzzles rather than HOS, I find Fountain is a crazy fun game with LOTS to do. There are many items to collect, each helping the game progress. The items come quickly and they aren't contrived (any more than any HOG is contrived just because it is what it is). I think it's the rapidity of items that makes this so exciting.

VISUAL/SOUND QUALITY
What you see: The visuals are fantastic. Colors are vibrant. Unlike Ravenhearst, this game isn't under a dark and cloudy sky, but in the bright light of day (at least at the beginning). Items are very well drawn. In fact, they are so well drawn that at times they look more like photos than computer-generated drawings. There are 17 HOS and they are not junk piles. Items are well named, not a given in HOGs.

What you hear: I am very impressed with the audio. The soundtrack is excellent. The game is not dreary and neither is the music. It is lively and it communicates the excitement and urgency I feel playing the game.

The voice actors are also quite good. The characters are not just reading words, but putting real feeling into them without being over-dramatic. Bad guys sound like bad guys and the good guys sound like they're defending all that's right with the world.

Finally, the sound effects are among the best I've ever heard. I could actually hear a fire crackling. And, it isn't over done! A yipping monkey (or whatever it is that monkeys do) sounds real. Flowing water sounds like flowing water.

I realize that the art and science of sound effects has progressed dramatically, but I haven't heard such an example of this progress in hidden object/ puzzle/adventure games. Sound effects are much better than good in Fountain of Youth.

To be continued

 
 
November 30 at 10:41pm Still no response. 120 hours now.
 
 
I wrote to BFG Tech support/customer service. I sent in a service "tag" complete with MacDr. Felix Report. I got the standard "it takes 72 hours and you'll be hearing from us" letter.

No response by 9:42p 11/28, the 72 hour mark.
No response by 9:42p 11/29, the 96 hour mark.
Now it's in the wee hours of November 30...the 100 hour mark. NO RESPONSE.

I may have miscounted, but I'm close: I have purchased 420 games from BFG since 6/13/2012. Yes, there are many free games included in that total, either by earning credits or from nice customer service people who've gifted them to me because of some issue. Still, I'm sure I've paid out of my own pocket for at least 350 games. AFTER PURCHASING ONE GAME, I DESERVE EXPEDITIOUS SERVICE FOR A GAME THAT DOESN'T WORK PROPERLY. Surely, after at least 350 games purchased I deserve a personal response to a problem....especially one that I've heard there is a fix for and for some reason I cannot access.

I wrote a review of Eventide: Slavic Fable Collector's Edition on 9/25 and it got published. Someone is in the office....BUT NOT TO RETURN MY CORRESPONDENCE.
 
 
As I recall, I had a problem with the key and couldn't figure it out.
I am pretty sure I had the key arranged according to the diagram.
I made one switch: I THINK it was the 5 and 2 positions. I'm sorry I can't remember exactly.

The big thing is that, like everyone else, I'm sure I had it right the first time. Ergo, the problem was with the diagram...

This is a discouraging devolution.
 
 
I understand that it's Thanksgiving, but...
I'm finding it very strange that there is no response from the folks at BFG.
They aren't to blame for the problem...this is Eipix's game...but they are responsible to us, their customers, to whom they sold this game that I and many so glowingly reviewed...

On the other hand...for the thousands and thousands of sales of this game (I am projecting that it is wildly successful) only 5 pages of complaints about this cursor problem is a relatively small percentage perhaps? I believe I'm the only person reporting the problem here and playing on a Mac...

In the end: many or few, this is a problem that needs to be addressed. The lack of response is disconcerting. If I've had the time to read all of these posts about the problem, surely someone at BFG as had the time as well.

Next: Banned for Life? I hope not.
 
 
I am having the same problem as everyone else with the cursor glitch and I am playing on a macbook Pro with OS 10.9.5.

I don't think the suggestion from BFG to switch off the custom cursor is really appropriate: if there's a glitch it should be fixed.

I'm having another strange occurrence and I'm not sure if this is a glitch or if it was part of the game...but it happened at the same time as the identifiable glitch..and I've never seen this happen before: I can't remember the item now, but is was a disc of some sort...it had the "scales" from the gallows on it. Once I clicked on it I couldn't let go of it. I finally recognized the scales and went to the gallows, placed the disc over the scales and it popped off. Then I encountered another disc, this one of the wagon across the street from the bailiff's office...same thing happened. I couldn't let go of the disc, but when placed over the wagon it...I don't know how to describe this...it "fizzed" away....

I wrote this glowing review of Ravenhearst Unlocked....even mentioning that the feeling I had with Key to Ravenhearst...that I should have tempered my far too positive review....was not a feeling I'd be getting with RU...well...my glowing review is seeming a bit premature now.

At this point...either this is a rather limited problem (there are relatively few of us mentioning the issue) OR people don't play these games quite as quickly as they'd like us to think

Anyway, any feedback would be appreciated...
Thanks,
Mark/SFR8RFAN
 
 
I wrote a review of Key To Ravenhearst after playing an hourlong trial. I'm going to give a more knowledgeable review now:


IT'S FANTASTIC. With the exception of the Bonus Chapter that was underwhelming and way too "light," everything else...EVERYTHING ELSE was INCREDIBLE.

IT'S INTENSE. The game isn't scary. I mean, c'mon. I have never played a game that really sent a chill up my spine. It's a game. A movie is different. I can suspend disbelief in a movie because it's real people, not drawn.

Still, the cruelty, malevolence, diabolical themes, even though not human, are still very intense.

The EVIL is communicated constantly. The words, the actions, the sights, the voice acting, THE BACKGROUND MUSIC, the hidden object scenes, the mini-games, these all contribute to the "intensity" of the Key to Ravenhearst experience. It's COMPLETELY IMMERSIVE, sensually.

IT'S BEAUTIFUL TO SEE&HEAR: This game was drawn as beautifully as any I've ever seen. EVER. It is rich in color and very realistically drawn: I could see the patina of reality in the people and objects drawn and animated. I could hear the patina of reality in the voices of the actors, each of whom was wonderful.

IT'S CHALLENGING. It's easy to complain that this game isn't tough enough, or like games in the old days. ALERT ALERT ALERT: THERE'S a CUSTOM MODE THAT ALLOWS YOU TO TURN OFF ALL THE HELP. Shut off situational cursors. Shut off helpful text. Shut off glitter for locations and HOS. DON'T LOOK AT THE STRATEGY GUIDE. I didn't. You don't have to! To some degree we control the challenge.

Guesstimate: total playing time was 12 hours. YES. It took me that long. Why? Who knows? Maybe I'm really a beginner and not an expert! Who cares? Describe however you want. If being an expert means finishing in 90 minutes then I'm glad I'm a beginner. Every minute I played Key to Ravenhearst it became more valuable. I enjoyed coming back to it again and again.

IT'S NOT LIKE THE OLD GAMES: Correct. This game is unlike previous iterations of the Ravenhearst series or any other game. It's completely new. And it's exciting and challenging and FUN.

THE GOOD NEWS: CLEARY MORE RAVENHEARST TO COME!!!

I AM MORE EXCITED NOW THAN I WAS AFTER JUST AN HOUR OF PLAYING. Unless you only like HOG or don't like dark subject matter, I CAN'T IMAGINE NOT LIKING THIS GAME. Give me a concrete example of what about this game isn't as good or better than MOST others. Please.
 
 
It's now six months since I left a message.
I asked a "monitor" from BFG and got no response to my question:
The MCF series is a signature series. Why hasn't it been upgraded for compatibility with newer Mac OS?
It's really disappointing! This is my FAVORITE game.
 
 
There was no question at all in my mind once I began playing. This game is a keeper. My experience with MCF games thus far is that they are not overwhelmingly difficult. I wondered if that would be the case with Key to Ravenhearst. The first couple of games follow that pattern. The first jumbo/multi-level/contraption-device puzzle is a serious challenge. After that, the regular games become progressively more difficult. While never being hair-pulling hard, they are a better test of the mind and the will (to steer clear of the strategy guide) than MCF of the past.

The HOS are as well done as you'll find, I think. They, too, ascend in difficulty...but that's not quite the right word. Sophistication? Perhaps. The HOS are multi-leveled and interactive.

So, after all the years and all the adventures revolving around Ravenhearst, was it time to build a museum on the same site to "honor?" its checkered history? After you arrive you'll take a tour. You'll answer questions about the history of the institution. You'll wonder what exactly is REALLY going on here.

You'll find yourself wondering why every game can't be as good as Mystery Case Files.

So my free trial hour is up. What next? Of course I'm going to add this to my collection. First, though, I'm going to revisit Ravenhearst, Return to Ravenhearst and Escape From Ravenhearst. I want to review the history of the dastardly Dalimars, the sisters Somerset and the tragic Emma Ravenhearst.

This game is a sensual masterpiece: stunning to see; exciting to hear; tension so thick you can touch it; you can smell death in the air. And the whole thing is absolutely delicious.
 
 
AN INSTANT CLASSIC

Our first inkling of Ravenhearst came in 2006 in MCF: Prime Suspects at the end. A letter saying the Queen requested our assistance on an urgent matter, later confirmed to be the Ravenhearst case via phone call in Madame Fate, is where it all began. Now we've returned to Ravenhearst for the first time since 2011 in this twelfth MCF adventure.

There have been other developers and other story lines but a couple things remain constant. First is exceptional quality. Another constant is innovation. Since the second MCF, Prime Suspects, each installment has taken a step forward in features. Sometimes the steps are dramatic leaps, as with the introduction of the multi-step, Rube Goldberg-type puzzle in Ravenhearst; the introduction of live actors in Return to Ravenhearst; full motion videos in Dire Grove; and, morphing hidden objects in Escape From Ravenhearst,

I've played only the free trial hour of Key to Ravenhearst on a MacBook Pro with operating system 10.9.5.

There should be no mystery about my intention: I will buy Key to Ravenhearst in its CE format in order to take advantage of the extra chapter, the strategy guide, the collectibles, the morphing objects and, yes, the achievements. I want to experience every available part of this game...which I've been anticipating for months now.

The anticipation has been so great, it had to an exceptional game and it is.

FUN FACTOR/VISUAL-SOUND QUALITY/LEVEL OF CHALLENGE/STORYLINE

After midnight I clicked on "Tomorrow's Game Today" and started this adventure. One more time I'm grateful that I'm such a slow player.

This game is completely immersive: it's a cavalcade of color for the eyes with beautiful drawing and painstakingly perfect animation; a symphony for the ears with a soundtrack that is, by turns, mellifluous and eerie and sound effects that are frighteningly realistic; a feast for the mind with a captivating storyline that, to my delight, is unfolding with purpose.

I don't want to rush to the finish line. It's taken years to get back to Ravenhearst. I want this to last as long as possible. If you want to experience the same thing, I suggest customizing the level of play and shutting off every possible bit of help. (NB: even in the most difficult mode the hint button works. You must customize to disable it). But please don't shut off the sound. Don't miss the soundtrack. Also, in my opinion, the lip-synching is state of the art. This is a great example of how it's to be done.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Go to:   
 
 
 
KEY:    Unread    Read    Sticky    Locked    Announcement    Moved    Moderator