G5 Entertainment brings a new entry to the free to play market with hidden object mystery Letters From Nowhere.
I always heave a little sigh when approaching a free-to-play game. Sure, I love free stuff as much as the next guy, but often the push for in-app purchases serves only to make the game near unplayable after a short time. I’m the type who is happy to throw in a few bucks for a quality game, but the freemium model is designed with the idea that players will continue to purchase items indefinitely – and that means making it tough to advance in the game without being willing to cough up some cash. So I was intrigued somewhat by G5’s newest game, an entry in the Letters From Nowhere series. G5 Entertainment is known for providing quality casual games, so I was curious if they would be able to make the FTP model worth playing.
The story line in Letters From Nowhere: A Hidden Object Mystery is a bit hard to get into. Like many social and FTP games, it’s doled out just a little bit at a time, with most of the beginning bits spent on teaching you all the elements needed to advance in the game. Basically, you are called to return to your childhood hometown by your grandfather. Your parents disappeared years ago, and it is clear from the moment you step off the train that things have taken a dire turn in the years you’ve been gone. The place is deserted and dark, strange plants are everywhere, and the people – even your grandfather – are acting decidedly strange.
The story is told in text, doled out a little at a time at the beginning of the hidden object finds that make up the bulk of the game. Unlike most games in the genre, Letters From Nowhere uses a leveling up system requiring you to earn points in order to improve the areas you visit. That means you’ll be visiting the same locations over and over again, with just tiny bits of story in between to liven things up. The objects you’ll find when re-visiting the locations are often different – or presented differently – but the items themselves are always in the same places. So whether you’re being asked to find things from a direct list of items, a list of silhouettes, or cryptic clues, the objects in the same place every single time, which gets old given the amount of times you’ll replay those locations.
In addition to leveling up, the game features a variety of FTP standards, like collections that can be boosted by visiting the game daily to collect all the pieces of an object, and an energy level meter that limits how much you can play at a time. Speaking of time, there are time limits on each hidden object puzzle, making it less of a casual experience for some. No worries, though – if you run out of time, you can always purchase more using stamps. These stamps are the currency of the game, and using them allows you to do everything from purchase objects needed to advance to unlocking the next locations (also needed to advance). The stamps can be found in the objects jumbles but, predictably for a FTP game, they are few and far between. The object is clearly to get you to purchase stamps outright, as without doing that you are stuck playing the same locations over and over again, which given the fact that the jumbles of objects are identical each time, gets old really fast.
If you are the type of person who does not mind sticking a little cash or a whole lot of time into a game, Letters From Nowhere: A Hidden Object Mystery may be what you are looking for. There is a ton of hidden object gameplay to be found, and the free to play price tag is appealing at first glance. Like many games in the FTP category though, it suffers from the inevitable cash grabs that result from offering the game for free. It’s definitely worth taking a look if you are in the market for some hidden object action on the cheap – but if you have a few bucks to spare, you are far better served by using it to pick up one of the paid Letters From Nowhere games available.