One person’s trash is another person’s treasure – the saying is certainly appropriate for Yard Sale Hidden Treasures: Sunnyville, a hidden object/home decorating game that has you scouring roadside yard sales for goodies to spruce up your new dream home.
The citizens of sleepy Sunnyville, yourself included, are all competing to get their home featured in Superstar Homes magazine. To impress the judge, however, each of the eight rooms in your house is going to need a makeover.
Armed with a wish-list of things each room needs – such as new light fixtures for the entryway, a dressing bench in the master bedroom, or a snazzier kitchen table – you’ll visit yard sales around town to find the required items, which are cleverly concealed amidst the rest of the junk in each scene.
Sometimes you’ll find an item that truly is junk on its own, like an old table leg or a rusted out lamp, but when cleaned up and combined with something else, it can be used to create a unique and charming accessory. This involves a different kind of gameplay that requires you to don your handyman’s hat as you use the mouse to glue, cut, sand, paint, and finally assemble new pieces of furniture.
There are only twelve locations to visit, so you’ll deal with inevitable repetition as you go back to the same yard same for a second or third time, but the houses are each so fun and unique that it’s a pleasure to return. What’s more, the items you need to find more or less make sense within the context of each house. For example, at Sailor Bob’s houseboat you’ll be hunting for nautical-themed swag like turtles, a boat propeller or an oar; at M.T. Graves’ creepy mansion you’ll search for Halloween masks, old bones, a hangman’s noose, vampire bats or spiders; and at the Colonel’s army bunker you can scavenge ammo crates and war recruitment posters.
Sometimes the eccentric residents of Sunnyville will ask a special favor from you, which leads to extra seek-and-find challenges and mini-games. For example, find the pieces of a broken statue and then piece it back together; rotate tiles to complete a treasure map; find paint cans to decorate a tie-dye T-shirt.
Yard Sale Hidden Treasures: Sunnyville offers a surprising amount of replay value for a hidden object game. Not only can you replay levels at any time to try to achieve a higher score (you’re awarded a rank for how quickly you build the furniture), but completing the game unlocks a second arcade-style marathon mode called Tour, where you can try to find all of the items in every location in the fastest time possible. The main career mode also offers two modes: Timed and Relaxed.
The one major fly in the ointment is the sound quality, which for some reason isn’t quite up to snuff. The firecracker sound effect, which actually sounded more like a ghostly scream, stood out as a particularly inappropriate choice.
Overall, though, the game is thoroughly enjoyable and oozes charm and creativity. Not only is it a fun hidden object romp, but the home improvement sections of the game actually contain some pretty useful project ideas that you could easily duplicate in your own home if you’re handy with tools and a paintbrush. In fact, I can’t wait to make that flower planter for my own kitchen – now where would I find an army ammunition crate…