It has been some time since I’ve played a hidden object game, I think the last being Mystery Case Files: Return to Ravenhearst, but I do enjoy the genre in part because you know what you’re getting in terms of gameplay but also because adding a paranormal or crime based story tends to be part and parcel and I really do enjoy the theming. Scarlet Mysteries: Lost Child appears to be the first in what seems to be intended to become a series and frankly, I hope there will be more to come. A nice thing about this particular game is that it is available on Switch and it’s nice to have handheld access to this game as the genre doesn’t have much representation in the handheld market but for the purposes of this review, I will be playing on PC.
We play as Scarlett and after a brief but spooky intro sequence, we get into the game. Without going into too much detail and ruining the story itself, I’ll just say there was a murder and we are tasked with helping solve it. After some brief puzzles in the intro sequences, we’re on the train and off to the mansion where we find a ghost and have to search for clues while escaping a madman seeking us out. This really lends to an anxious sort of atmosphere and when coupled with the creepy areas makes for a cool experience. It also really highlights how well done the puzzles are and the area artwork is as the story really ties it all together and makes you feel like you’re actually getting somewhere and working towards something which is something I feel many hidden object games struggle with.
Almost immediately, we’re plunged straight into the tried and true gameplay of this sort of genre. We’re shown we can examine and interact with objects similar to how you would in a Resident Evil game and this sort of mechanic will become crucial down the line because unlike many hidden object games, this one features many variations of puzzles and can take quite the eye for detail to work out, which if anything should be considered a good point. Sometimes puzzles are spread out across several screens too, but there are hint options and the game does try to subtly tell you what to do without being too obvious.
I will say though that the game makes it clear where you need to go which is both good and bad. Good in that you know what you’re working towards but it can become a bit hand-holdy so to speak. Linearity does bother me in some games where I’d like to just explore the areas and take in the atmosphere, but I think in this case we get a bit of both so I feel I can let it slide. A few of my favourite sections actually don’t even involve puzzles and instead have you navigating an elevator shaft or balancing on a plank. It’s little things like those that embolden the story and make Scarlett Mysteries: Lost Child a cut above the rest and clarify it as not just another hidden object game.
I actually really like the UI and how you go about finding clues. I didn’t use the hint function in my playthrough outside of testing early on, but I can say the hint system is easy to use and if anything is overly generous. Personally, I’d have put a hard limit on hints or a penalty of some kind, but I feel like most players only use hints when they’re out of ideas anyway so maybe it’s for the best. I found the puzzles in general fun and from what I saw, the hidden object parts seem randomized so that gives a level of replayability though in saying that, once you’ve finished the story you likely won’t pick it back up again for a year or three until you’ve forgotten, otherwise it could become repetitive whereas the one run has nice variety and even pacing but that is just my subjective opinion. Others may delight in it.
In terms of visuals, as I mentioned the animations are pretty great. Sometimes the art can be a bit janky but overall it’s well done and is pleasantly stylized. The detail in the screens and objects themselves obviously had a lot of work put into them and I can certainly appreciate that. Sometimes, though things seem questionable, like a man standing half in a doorway and stuff like that but it’s more odd than anything. The visual effects for clues, and lighting fires and stuff like that do look great though so overall i#I’d give the game points for its visuals across the board.
The background music is decent at setting the atmosphere and the overall sound effects are good, but here is where I’m divided. The game is completely voice acted, which is a good thing. The voice acting, however, is of poor quality. No passion in lines that should have more emotion. It’s like you can hear the voice actors reading off a script which doesn’t suit the scenarios you as the player or they as NPCs are in. It’s so.. nonchalant and it becomes quickly apparent this is the case so I have to knock points off there. It’s a shame because the voice actors themselves have decent voices, it’s just all poor execution and it does let the game itself down.
In summation, Scarlett Mysteries: Lost Child is a great little hidden object with great visuals and puzzle variety only really let down by its poor voice acting. I’d recommend it for Switch owners and elsewhere, but mostly for Switch as it is much more of a stand out release there, where less hidden object titles are available.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary PC code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Scarlett Mysteries: Cursed Child Review
Gameplay - 8/10
Graphics - 8/10
Sound - 6/10
Replay Value - 6/10
User Review( votes)
Scarlett Mysteries: Lost Child is a great little hidden object with great visuals and puzzle variety only really let down by its poor voice acting.
- Nice puzzle variety.
- Various mechanics for investigatory purposes.
- Nice crisp visuals.
- Poor voice acting.