Clever Hidden Object-Game
It may sound weird to some, but 9 Clues: The Secret of Serpent Creek
is actually the first Hidden Object Game
I've ever played. And to make it immediately clear: I liked it a lot! It's stylish, cleverly designed and it has an original story.9 Clues: The Secret of Serpent Creek
was developed by Tap It Games and published by the well-known Artifex Mundi in July 2013. Some research out of my newly-found interest in this genre, has learned me that Artifex Mundi is perhaps THE prime publisher of this kind of games, and after playing a second one of their games, I can safely confirm that they stand for quality and sheer gaming pleasure.The Secret of Serpent Creek
could be defined as an adventure-light, or casual adventure game, with a touch of horror added to it. The story is quite original and entertaining and certainly proved interesting enough to keep my interest right through to the final stages. I won't spoil it here, suffice it only to tell that it is also suited for teenagers and maybe even younger children, since there is no offensive context in any way. There are also a whole bunch of helping-tools, perfectly adaptable to everyone's needs with three difficulty levels. Exactly as how it should be done in this kind of games, imo.
The actual gameplay is very much point-and-click orientated, with static screens following upon each other. Most of the times there are objects to be found to advance to the next screen, to solve a puzzle, or to be combined with each other. Thanks to the very intuitive inventory, all this can be done in a smooth manner, and thanks to the map (with fast-travel system incorporated), the amount of backtracking is limited. The shining point of the game are the famous "Hidden Object" scenes, where one has to click several named objects in order to find one story-related object. As easy as this may sound, it proved quite a lot of fun, and even challenge to a non-native English speaker as me. I made a sport out of it not to consult any dictionay, and I've certainly learned a whole bunch a new English word just by playing this game ;-). Apart from the Hidden Object-screens, there are also quite some well-designed puzzles, more of a challenge but still very well designed and easily solved with some thinking.
Since gameplay is limited to pointing, clicking and thinking, graphics and sound are very important to me in this kind of adventure (light). And in these departments 9 Clues: The Secret of Serpent Creek
certainly delivers. The scenes are vividly painted, with bright coulours if needed and lots of visual clues. Sound-wise, there's not much to complain about: voice-acting is fine, only the music could have delivered more of a punch.
All in all, this was a very fine first encounter for me wtih this genre, and with the quality-products Artifex Mundi delivers. Don't hesitate if you like this kind of games, and do give it a try when you're curious about them. It's not expensive, and as icing on the cake: it comes with Trading Cards and a set of Steam Achievements that can be made into a perfect game without too much hassle.
Longelivety: 6/10 (decent lenght for this kind of games but not much beside that)
Steam Integration: 10/10
Personal appreciation: 8/10