Game Review: Mystery Case Files: Return to Ravenhearst

When it comes to Hidden Objects games, you can see different “levels”. The Low Level is where you mostly look for items for the sake of looking for items. There is a pseudo-story, but it mostly is there for the sake of saying “Hey! We’ve got a story!”. The novelization wouldn’t be very popular. The Medium Level is when you do look for items, but there is an interesting story behind it all. Sure, the item search is seldom really story related (what’s with all the pretzels?), but there is still something more complete. And, finally, you got Mystery Case Files: Return to Ravenhearst.

Gameplay

In terms of gameplay, the game is very similar to the previous games in the Mystery Case Files series. You have to look for items in different locations and solve puzzles to access new areas. There are some differences, however, as the game follows the story more than previous installments of the series: your progress reveals new elements and you actually walk around the manor.

There are different types of puzzles for different tastes. You get the option of skipping puzzles, but that adds to your total time. Some puzzles are particularly frustrating, but which ones you like depends entirely on you, I believe.

Story

The story is interesting. It is not ground-breaking and the ending will probably not have you completely flabbergasted, but compared to the average Hidden Objects game, it was definitely good. As the name hints, it is a sequel (or a prequel, depending on how you look at it) to Mystery Case Files: Ravenhearst and adds more to the story present in the original.

Graphics

Another aspect that was good. Some things bug me at times, and the game suffers from the low contrast of any game set in a rather dark environment, but overall the graphics were fine.

Accessibility and Phobia Factor

As I said above, the game will be very hard if you have difficulty looking at very dark screens. Same if you have difficulty concentrating, as some puzzles require you to be very attentive.

Plus, if you suffer from arthritis or, for some other reason, need to take your hand away from the mouse quite often, you might have difficulty with some mini-games, one in particular. Fortunately, they can be skipped.

As for phobias, this game is worse than the average HO game in terms of bugs (the crawling kind), due to its theme. If you are afraid of bugs of any kind and / or of rotting, it might be difficult to make it through the game at times.

Summary

Overall, I think this was a very good game. It was one of the games that make it work to play Hidden Objects games. Actually, it often strays from the genre, as only a small part of the game consists of looking for the hidden objects in a scene.

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