A hidden object adventure game where they appear to have hidden the plot too.
Let me be up front here, and confess that I’ve never really paid much attention to the hidden object genre of games. I think this is the first such title that I’ve actually played in many years. That said, you’ll find no bashing of the genre here if you are a keen and eager fan. Games like this have their place, and are as valid a time killer as anything else. That said, Red Crow Mysteries: Legion lacks perhaps one of the more fundamental aspects of this type of game, an engaging and interesting storyline.
You start off your adventure being woken by your mother, who briefly then turns into Gene Simmons, or possibly a demon, before you wake up properly and the game begins. Once you’ve picked up a few items, unlocked a few draws and solved a few puzzles you’re out the door to finally meet with the ghost of your mother.
At this point, the plot is delivered to you with all the subtlety of a house brick being thrown through your window. It turns out you are the ‘one’ with ‘special powers’. Neither of these things are ever actually explained to you and I’m assuming the special powers involve the ability to pick up everyday household items and solve moderately challenging puzzles.
At this point you are then told, in hackneyed fashion, about your mortal enemy, Legion. He’s very bad, apparently for some reason but that’s about the only explanation you’ll get. He keeps appearing throughout history and is always defeated by those with special powers, of whom you are one. So he’s a bit s**t as a villain and offers no real threat at any point throughout the game.
Your quest is to go to your aunt’s house, where you’ll find a letter telling you to visit your Grandfather’s grave to learn about how to defeat Legion. I honestly don’t quite know what to make of the narrative, it’s an absolute joke and the entire game ends on such a preposterous revelation that I wondered why this wasn’t information that could have been relayed to me by my dead mother much earlier on in the game, sparing me the trauma of navigating and clicking around CGI backgrounds.
The developers have clearly set this title up to be part of a series; they might want to try shoehorning in some actual substance in future games.
Graphically, the game is pretty so-so. The backdrops are serviceable, but otherwise they never really have the spit and polish required to properly draw you into the spooky atmosphere that Cateia Games have tried to implant throughout the game.
Any cut scenes are delivered through basic pans, fades and zooms of other on screen images and struggle to create any real sense of immersion in the storyline. Although they practically shine against the poorly written dialogue and terrible voice acting that permeates the proceedings. You can easily draw parallels with the badly written dialogue and wooden voice acting of the first Resident Evil game… which was fine for 1996 but we’ve come a long way since then, so overall it’s a disappointment.
So what about the actual game play itself? I found myself blasting quickly through a significant bulk of the game where the puzzles or collection and implementation of items found throughout the levels were fairly obvious and apparent. I got stuck a few times on some of the more devious puzzles. In some instances I was able to spam the left mouse button around a bit and low and behold the puzzle was done!
There are some moments where you are having to trawl through houses in the dark, and these opportunities for some proper scares are completely wasted. So the good news is that if you like your Gothic horror to be light on the horror, then RCM:L does a good job of just dipping your toe into the waters of discomfort rather than pulling you fully in.
Playing the game itself was a moderate amount of fun and I couldn’t help but think that as a cheap app for an Android tablet or iPad then this would not be a bad way to kill time for those who enjoy the genre. But the game really doesn’t last too long and delivers a shoddy storyline that purposely holds back from anything more promising on the assumption that you’ll buy future titles.
Overall, it’s a 5 out of 10 and not really a very good re-introduction to a genre that I haven’t played in a while. The gameplay is fairly pedestrian and the voice acting, dialogue and storyline that hangs from it is lazily executed.