So I'm not really into the hidden object point/click adventures, but I was amused by the concept and thought I would give this one a try. I liked the idea, so here we go.
The concept is actually pretty interesting. The story has a basic set up: New Orleans has fallen under some kind of curse and its up to a rookie voodoo witch to set things straight. The idea of an adventure that themes itself around 'realistic' magick and spell-craft is pretty cool in my opinion, and it seems to be done well.
There actually is a bit of homework that went into this. For example: the brick dust, or red clay dust, you get at the beginning of the game actually is a thing for voodoo practioners as a defensive item, and its not uncommon to serve up mojo in cloth bags like you see in the opening sequence and throughout the game.
You spend most of the game looking for such spell ingredients and picking up mojo to cast spells and solve problems (or give you hints). Which, is an interesting break from what I normally see in clicky-click adventures. You still have plenty of times when you need to do practical things like search for a screwdriver to unscrew a latch and other things, but there are some pretty interesting moments when you solve problems in an impractical way by using magicks or spells to achieve supernatural results.
And I can give a game credit for putting a little meaning and history behind its spellcraft, instead of just saying "Magic power!"
The story actually does a decent job at throwing a few curves into the mystery of what is going on, but only every now and then. Its otherwise straightforward, and not really noteworthy or condemnable either way.
The main meat of the gameplay is the hidden object scenes, where you have to clear out a small list of items from a messy scene, which ultimately rewards you with keys or ingredients you need. They usually aren't too hard, and are a lot more entertaining than I thought they would be; coming from an action game guy. There are some puzzles too, but they are usually very short and very easy, and the exploration is a little too straightforward to be called gameplay.
And the game's still graphics look great by the way.
Some of the hidden object scenes are really quite absurd though, and it does make me wonder how any sane person could keep some of the messes seen on the desks and tables in this game!
Which brings me to the bad...
This game's setting is really dark and gloomy. I feel like there is some legitimate work that went into this game to make it a 'dark adventure. But, then the game happens, and there is a huge dissonance in game and setting.
The game is ridiculous and inconsistent most of the time. It expects you to do things out of order, and what you can and can't do at times isn't exactly clear.
The game has a tendency to force you to do things step by step. Anytime you go through a process, instead of being able to get the whole thing done at once, you have to do part A, go get items for part B, do part B, go get items for part C, do part C, instead of getting all the items and preparing to do the task in one go like a normal human being would do. The game will literally not let you get everything you need at once; either the protagonist will say she doesn't know what to do with this, or the game just won't even notice it and write it off as background until you need to pick it up. It just causes a lot of needless backtracking.
And sadly, all the magicks and spell crafting in this game are contextual and very limited. You only make and perform each spell once, and you only use spells every now and then. Which is a shame, as I feel like the game kind of undermines its own idea by not using the character's voodoo abilities more often. Instead, it tends to favor more traditional point/click gameplay.
The story, while decent most of the time, has a lot of bumps. Lillian is noblewoman, but can somehow pick locks with no explanation as to how she knows that. She talks as if she doesn't know her own house in the first chapter, and given that her suitcase is kept in the pantry I'm not surprised. It seems like everyone you meet is very familiar with voodoo, and nobody seems to really be interested in the fact that you are saving the town with magic. Dead people don't know they are dead until you talk to them, but can accurately recall their cause of death anyways. Villains don't fry you on the spot for no reason other than to give you time to defeat them.
Its not cringe-worthy, but certainly not good. I'm not even nitpicking either. This is THE GAME. This is pretty much what makes up the story.
But here's a nitpick: For a wealthy family that owns a maid and a gardener, the house is an absolute sty.
I would actually go as far as to say that the only real effect this 'curse' has is to make things messy, as cursed presences take the form of piles of junk that have to be magicked away.
The music is ok, if overly dramatic most of the time. The 3d animations and 3d models range from bad to horrifyingly bad. I would have prefered this game to be in all 2d and still images. The voice acting is decent during some of the cutscenes, but the dialogue is overall amatuerish, cliche, and sometimes just silly.
At one point, the game asks you to put ham in a mortar and pestle. It even says it in your magic spell book, IN THE SPELL's DESCRIPTION, to put "a smelly ham" in a ceramic mortar. Someone seriously wrote that as a spell.
That's this game's biggest problem. Its got a dark adventure setup, but the game's action is just too stupid to be taken seriously. The ridiculous actions combined with the absurd dialogue just makes this game seem foolish, and that's a huge red mark for a game with this kind of set up. The constant backtracking doesn't help either.
Finally, this game is painfully short, and has the nerve to force a "To be continued..." ending.
In summary, I would just say that this game is trying to be too serious for its genre.
I would have liked this game to be better than it was. I would have liked a game that stuck with its concept and tried to break out of the genre it set out for. I think a puzzle game that focuses more on magicking rooms back in order and a more open adventure with a focus on collecting and testing out ingredients to find solutions to problems would have been more interesting than the hidden object games. Its pretty, but the gameplay just doesn't work with the story.
Maybe I'm expecting too much of a genre I know nothing about, but I'm just going with my opinions. There was serious game potential here, and it was wasted on a silly object find game with silly writing.
I like a game with a good concept and setting though, and there is a pretty good setup. And for what it is, it was still fun for a few hours. I just would have liked a bit more content and a bit better gameplay
I don't know. I'll call it at a coin toss. I personally was more amused with this than I thought it would be, but if you have any kind of high expectation for this I'd stay away. Take that for what its worth.
I played it. I finished it. I didn't hate it. So I recommend it. Try it or don't. Its a gamble of a game in my opinion.