One of the first things that comes to mind when thinking about ancient Egypt (after mummies) is treasure. After death, wealthy pharaohs were laid to rest inside massive tombs with gold, jewelry and other valuables, the vault then sealed tight. Over the years, of course, many tombs fell victim to looters and were picked clean of their artefacts. In Amazing Adventures The Lost Tomb, the latest hidden object game from SpinTop and PopCap, there’s still one tomb out there that’s unspoiled and waiting to be discovered.
It all begins when the museum you work for sends you a piece of a map that’s believed to reveal the location of the Lost Tomb – as a historian, you at least have more scruples than the average grave robber. Your task is to find addition clues, spread across 20 game missions, to discover the Lost Tomb and, more importantly, the valuable treasure within!
Each mission spans several different locations as you explore various Egyptian settings including the Sphinx, the Great Pyramids, a market bazaar, a close-up of a pharoah’s mask, and even an underwater sunken temple.
In typical hidden object game fashion, each location is littered with an odd assortment of objects, and you must find and click on all of the specific items provided to you on a list, such as a fire extinguisher, turtle, fork and pencil. Most often, your list will be straightforward, but every so often the game throws a curve ball by asking you to find multiples of one object (such as 3 dogs or 2 wrenches), or describes the object as a riddle such as "ivory owner" (elephant) or "ten for a strike" (a bowling pin).
There are also special scarabs to find hidden throughout the levels. If you manage to snag all 21 of them you’ll unlock a second game mode where you can go through the rooms again to find more items.
If you’re wondering about the lack of a relaxed mode, it’s because Amazing Adventures The Lost Tomb offers players the ability to toggle between timed and relaxed mode (where you have unlimited time to find all the items) on the fly. There are also unlimited hints; the hint bar does need to recharge over time (which doesn’t matter if you’re using the relaxed setting).
Some might argue that these features make the game too easy, but on the other hand, it gets rid of the frustration of having to replay the same levels over and over again if you keep running out of time with one or two items still outstanding on your list.
Another point to consider is that gameplay in Amazing Adventures The Lost Tomb is structured around receiving the highest score possible, which will earn you new adventurer ranks. You can earn bonus points for things like creating matches quickly, and you’ll lose points for using hints or too much random clicking. If you’re concentrating on getting a high score, then the question of relaxed vs. timed mode isn’t as big of an issue.
After completing a location, you’ll get to play one of seven different mini-game puzzles that will reveal the location that you’re going to next. For example, you might find yourself piecing together a jigsaw puzzle of a pharoah’s mask, and then searching the mask for items in the next level. Or, a tile-swapping puzzle or memory match puzzle might gradually reveal a hidden mine shaft or courtyard to explore.
The ride is mostly smooth, but not always. The game provides a hint in the form of a shimmery space that appears over an item on the list, but it can sometimes be hard to pinpoint where the item actually is within that space. The game once labelled a bent trowel-like object as a knife, and on another occasion there were actually three swords in the same location so when I clicked on "sword" like the list asked, I apparently clicked on the "wrong" sword, because nothing happened.
I’m happy to report, however, that incidents like these were few and far between. With more than 100 levels and some very interesting levels and puzzles to encounter, Amazing Adventures The Lost Tomb will certainly give treasure hunters their money’s worth. The game even provides factual tidbits about ancient Egypt so you might actually learn something while playing it too.