- Recommended, but only if on sale, and mainly for the great art.
- Seasoned P&C/HOG players will not be impressed by gameplay.
- If you're colorblind, skip this altogether - the minigames rely too much on color-matching.
+ Beautiful art
+ Nice soundtrack
+ Smooth mechanics
+ Some unique puzzlesCONS:
- No real story
- Repetitive tasks
- No instructions for puzzles/minigames
- No choice to skip puzzles/minigames
- Includes 2 short but stressful 8-bit 'obstacle-avoidance' action minigames (not what P&Cers are looking to play)
- Hint system not very good
- Anticlimactic and unsatisfying "ending" (if it can be called one)
- No replay value.
My feelings towards this game are mixed. I bought it based on all the positive reviews, and while I did enjoy it (mostly), and I do recommend the game (on sale), I still have a bunch of curmudgeonly gripes.STORY
It didn't feel like there was much of a story. The wordless intro clip only show a basic scenario: meteor hits planet, planet breaks into puzzle pieces, you need to find them all and fix the planet. Not much of a plotline, just an excuse for the player to do stuff. The store description says that the world "fell apart" and "its future depends on you", but I honestly expected a bit more for the main objective than literally
putting a picture puzzle back together. And aside from the puzzle pieces, the actual game feels disconnected from the initial "story" idea; it doesn't seem like there's any dire trouble to tackle in the world - just finding misplaced parts and accessing new areas. There's not much that connects the minigames, puzzles, and hidden object bits to an actual story, anyway. Yes, the puzzle pieces fix the planet. But how does anything else in the game itself factor into the "story"? I know that's being nitpicky, but if "Story" is in your title, there should at least be more plot-like connections between the tasks a player must complete.GAMEPLAY
You get a couple of initial tutorial arrows showing what to click on, but then you're on your own. The puzzle piece hunt is obvious, but you still have to click around to find out what parts of the scene need "fixing". Those bits give you an secondary objective to find a certain number of objects (gears, pipes, dice, etc) to fix the broken part. Sort of a semi-hidden-object hunt. After fixing your ladder/panel/door/whatever, you either unlock another area, or are presented with a minigame/puzzle to complete in order to get the last piece for another
secondary objective. Basically, "Find all the _____, or else you'll never get that last _____." At least clicks are precise, and the movement between scenes/areas is very fluid.MINIGAMES/PUZZLES
Many of the puzzles were very familiar/common in other games. But there are a handful I haven't seen in P&Cs/HoGs before, and the difficulty varied, which was nice. Either way, you get NO instructions once you start. Some are intuitive - like the "Simon Says" levers, or a version of that tube puzzle where you rotate pipes to complete a network. But many have you scratching your head before you realize what you're supposed to be doing in the first place. (I spent far too long on the Compass "puzzle" until I looked up the solution out of frustration.) At least you can click the red X to exit and reset everything if you mess up.
didn't like the action 'video game' minigames you're forced to play to continue, and was very glad there were only two. They're 8-bit obstacle games: one guiding a boat up and down to avoid walls, and one moving a plane left and right to avoid trees and planes. If you crash even once, you start over. They're not all that difficult, but they introduce an unwelcome level of stress that I generally play P&Cs/HoGs to avoid
Oh, and forget about finishing the game if you get stuck. You can't skip a single thing. Not cool.HINT SYSTEM
The hint system is cute, but iffy. Click on the blue flies to fill the "?" meter. Once it's full and clicked, a red bug will fly out and circle around whatever you're supposed to click or focus on next. The problem is that if you're in the wrong scene within a level, the bug will simply fly to the edge of the screen to the signpost arrow. I understand that means the next 'piece' or whatever is not in the current scene, but when you move to the next scene the bug disappears. So all you really got as a hint was "Nope, it's not here". Then the hint bar won't release a bug again for quite a while, even when full. I don't know what the timer is on it, but it's annoying to unknowingly "waste" hints like that. It's not difficult to refill the meter, but that really doesn't do much good if you can't use it.VARIETY
The description calls each chapter "vastly different". I disagree with most of that. Different, somewhat. Vastly, no. Any major differences between levels are purely cosmetic. It's just different scenes, music, and what type of objects you need to find. The minigames/puzzles themselves are obviously going to be different, but that's expected for any game like this, so I wouldn't consider that a "vast" difference.
The tasks in each level are pretty much the same:
1) Find all the hidden puzzle pieces.
2) Find multiple objects to "fix" things so you can progress. Objects are hidden in similar ways in each level (behind panels, overlaying a similar shape, blending into the background, etc).
3) Help some random person (usually just a version of "find this many ____").
4) Solve a handful of minigames or puzzles.
5) Put the puzzle pieces together at the end of each level.
That said, it didn't take long for it to feel a little repetitive. ENDINGWhat
ending? When you complete the world puzzle, you're put in a room with the people you helped out. Initially you think it's a bonus level, but then you realize all you can do is change the radio to play music from each level, and in the next room you can replay each minigame/puzzle individually. Beyond that...what exactly was accomplished?
It's very anticlimactic and unfulfilling.REPLAY VALUE
None whatsoever. You can't complete a level if you don't find/solve everything, so once you play through, you're done. Maybe
it has replay value if you want to revisit a minigame. But I don't see myself loading this up again just to play a puzzle with a 1-minute-or-less solution.CONCLUSION
Despite my nitpicking, I do recommend the game to PoC/HoG fans (wait for a sale though - save the $5 for a latte or something). The lovely art and music are worth a look, at the very least. If the game was any more expensive, I'd probably just go look at some nice galleries on deviantART instead. But honestly I can't comment/complain about value, since I got it on sale for $0.49.
Developers: Beautiful game, nice puzzles, but if you advertise it as a story, it needs more plot depth to be "immersive" or feel that I'm saving or helping anyone.