- Fun hidden object scenes
- Clever puzzles
- Well priced
- Some technical issues
- Some solutions are a bit too unobvious
- Not a genre that everyone will enjoy
While hidden object games are best suited to the PC, PSN has seen a fair few of them crop up over the past few years. The latest effort comes in the form of Voodoo Chronicles: The First Sign, which was actually available as far back as 2011 on PC. Don’t let that put you off though, the visuals are the least important factor of the serial clicker, with the game boasting enough interesting puzzles and items hidden in obscure places to keep you hooked from start to finish.
As you may have guessed, Voodoo Chronicles sees you making your way through a series of static scenes while keeping a keen eye for out for useful items along the way. You play as Detective Voodoo, a man tasked with unravelling the secrets behind a string of mysterious murders and the evil forces at the heart of them. There are cut-scenes that feature voice actors that wouldn’t even make the back-up list for extras on Hollyoaks, and the dialogue is forgettable and dull. But thankfully this is actually a game where story isn’t important.
Think of it as a giant game of “Where’s Wally?”. For the most part, you’re flung into hidden object scenes that have a ludicrous list of items displayed on the right hand side. Find all of the items on the list and you’ll have an item added to your inventory, most often than not an integral item for a puzzle later on. Of course it’s not that simple, as scenes are always ransacked and finding the tiniest of obscure objects hidden behind yet more trinkets is a challenge. You can get away with hammering the X button randomly and finding a good proportion, but you can pretty much guarantee that there’ll be one or two that evade you. But thanks to a handy hint system that allows you to get a limited amount of help, you never have to look too hard.
The constant searching isn’t limited to hidden object scenes either. As you traverse the numerous environments you need to be constantly on the lookout for seemingly useless tat, some hidden in even the smallest of nooks. Finding these isn’t so much of an issue, it’s putting them to use that causes the mind to boggle on occasions, sometimes utilising them with the environment is a bit awkward and defies any sense of logical thinking. For example, one sequence requires you to hammer a nail above a door, hang a voodoo head on it, start a fire in a bin and lure a man from his hideout. I’m not quite sure if doing any of those things together would be at the forefront of anyone’s mind.
There are also a handful of puzzles littered throughout the game too, which are generally well thought out and fun to get to the bottom of. They consist of a mixture of everything from sliding box puzzles to reinventing the wheel, varying greatly but never pushing the boundaries so far that you’ll be too taxed. Despite being clever and enjoyable diversions, there aren’t enough of them and a few of them can be completed within a minute without even trying. There is the option to take on Hard mode which makes things a little tougher, but even then the difference is negligible aside from a lack of hints.
It doesn’t take a genius to work out that first and foremost, Voodoo Chronicles is a PC game. Nothing can compare to using a good old fashioned mouse when it comes to the genre, but the analog stick is the second best option compared to the optional PlayStation Move control. The latter is a bit too fiddly when trying to click on the game’s smaller objects, and lacks the precision that the game requires.
It’s also worth noting that at the moment Voodoo Chronicles has a couple of game-breaking glitches. Now I only know of two instances (although unfortunately one of them comes near the end of the game) where the game can get in a flap under certain conditions, but I’ve been told by Sanuk Games that a patch is on the way subject to the green light from Sony. It’s really frustrating if you get caught by one (as I did), so let’s just hope that it’s rectified sooner rather than later.
For a download that costs just £4, it’s really hard to fault Voodoo Chronicles. It’s definitely for those who don’t mind sitting back and tackling an adventure at a slower pace, and definitely not something that’ll immediately strike a chord with everyone. But the clever puzzles and fun hidden object scenes outweigh the sub-par story and (hopefully temporary) technical issues, so I’d definitely recommend giving it a go regardless.