Mystery Case Files: 13th Skull Collector's Edition HD
Finally, a must have game for Sega CD...available on the iPad.
If you grew up playing video games in the 90s, Big Fish Games' Mystery Case Files: 13th Skull Collector's Edition HD will make you smile, not because of the hidden object stuff. You expect that, and the game's developers once again deliver.
No, the reason you'll fall in love with this title is the integration of live actors to help flesh out the story, which immediately brings to mind all those cornball video games for Sega CD, treasures like Night Trap, Double Switch and even the cheesiest of them all, Slam City with Scottie Pippen, with Make My Video: Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch a close second.
That said, 13th Skull separates itself from those critically panned flops with higher quality video and even superior acting, if you can believe that. The result is one of the finest hidden object titles we've played, a game that may kick start a revolution in mobile development.
The story goes a little something like this. After a family moves into a creepy Louisiana home, the father uncovers a legend of a pirate that may or may not have shacked up there and buried his treasure within the area. Then the poor guy (so we're led to believe) gets sucked into a closet while his traumatized daughter watches in horror.
That's basically where you come in. It's your job to speak to his wife, Sara Lawson, as well as a small cast of colorful characters. You'll receive missions that send you all over the house, rummaging through the fridge, dresser drawers and a workbench.
Of course, you'll spend a lot of time solving hidden object puzzles, where the goal is to somehow locate a laundry list of things among piles of junk. Do this, and you acquire a clue vital to pushing the story forward. Sniff around the place, and you may even find a key that unlocks a door.
The game's great simply because it doesn't hold your hand throughout the ten to 15 hour adventure. There's a hint button in the lower right hand corner, but Big Fish never entices you to cheat.
Not that you'd want to with such an intriguing storyline and gorgeously detailed graphics. We were pulled in the moment the intro cut scene began, and happily got lost within this virtual bayou, exploring every nook and cranny while eagerly anticipating the next conversation.
Is the acting cheesy? Of course, but what do you expect from an iPad game? George Clooney?
That said, we cannot recommend Mystery Case Files: 13th Skull enough. The combination of full motion video works surprisingly well with the proven hidden object formula, creating a wonderful journey that'll prove invaluable on long airplane trips or just a dreary day stuck at home. Now git. There be treasure to find.
[Editor's Note: 13th Skull is free to download, and you'll need to spend $4.99 to unlock the full game.]
Review code provided by Big Fish Games.
What's Hot: Classic hidden object goodness, live action cut scenes and characters, immersive storyline, incredibly detailed environments, optional hint button, free to download, concept art.
What's Not: Calling this a collector's edition seems silly.