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Dark Dimensions: Somber Song Collector's Edition
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Nice game, lousy quality

The game itself is decent. The story line is satisfying, and the mechanism for gradually revealing it works well. The game is designed so that you generally are working within a limited part of the map — maybe six to ten active locations. Personally, I prefer this to games where you have to keep wandering all over the entire map searching for some object or puzzle that wasn't there before. I'd put the difficulty at maybe 4 out of ten, with some of the mini-puzzles a little harder. Rather than the classic "just find these 12 objects" hidden object puzzles, it uses the newer style where you have to find and use a series of objects within the hidden object puzzle. (Find a key. Use the key to open the birdcage. Find a nut. Give the nut to the bird, which flies away. Find the feather that the bird left behind. Do something with feather ...) So far, I'd probably give it four stars.

So why only two stars? Two problems.

First, for some reason, in full-screen mode, it has a (nonfunctional) window title bar. SInce the game itself is sized to the full screen, the presence of the title bar pushes some game elements off the bottom of the screen — like the hint button, all but the first line of instructions for the mini-puzzles, and the "3 of4" part of multiple object inventory descriptions. (I've seen this same bug mentioned in reviews of other games in the series.) The game is still playable, but it's a constant irritation. More to the point, it shows inexcusable sloppiness in the implementation.

Second, when I was probably three-quarters of the way through the game, I decided to use the map to jump to another location. The game immediately became corrupted, and couldn't be played at all. At that point, it was choice between starting over from the beginning and just giving up. Given the irritation I was already feelilng from the title bar bug, I just said "enough."

Big Fish HOGs normally have excellent quality control, but this one certainly didn't.

by Neil Faiman, USA - Feb 16th 2016
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Bathory: The Bloody Countess
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Barely playable

The game itself is passable ... the hidden object puzzles are almost embarassingly easy. But it is simply broken.

Early on, there is a puzzle where you have to rearrange letters on a mirror to reveal a message, It would be completely trivial, except that when you enter the game, it zooms in so that you can only see about two thirds of the mirror. There is simply no way to complete the puzzle except to wait for the sckip clock to run out.

Also, in the exploration root of the puzzle is a town square, from which you can go left to your sister's house or right to a store and the castle. Only, it seems to be completely random whether the "right" option is available. Most of the time , there is no way to get to the store and castle.

Seriously disappointing.

by Neil Faiman, USA - Jan 5th 2016
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Enigmatis: The Ghosts of Maple Creek Collector's Edition
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First rate

I played Mists of Ravenwood first, then purchased this one. They are probably my favorite games of this genre (and I've played dozens). In many hidden-object games, the story feels like it's there to support the game; in these, if fells like the game is there to tel the story. The gradually revealed story is genuinely creepy (if predictable); the atmosphere is effective. The difficulty level felt just right — not trivial, but not too hard, I recommend it highly,

by Neil Faiman, USA - Aug 25th 2015
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