Book of Legends hidden object game

The premise of Book of Legends is no different than the ton of successful hidden object / adventure globe-trotting mysteries that have come before, and it even brings some new twists to the table, but ultimately the game is less satisfying than some of its peers.

The story begins when a book that Charleston takes from the library turns out to be the Book of Legends, a tome that holds the key to finding King Arthur’s legendary sword Excalibur. Charlie enlists the help of his sister Zoe (who isn’t too enthusiastic about being dragged into the adventure) and the two set off to follow the book’s clues and find the sword – all the while being trailed by three menacing men in black.

Gameplay is a mixture of inventory-based puzzles and finding hidden objects from lists. Players move seamlessly from one challenge to the next; for example, a boat is out of fuel so you must find a couple of fuel canisters and a funnel, use them to refuel the boat, then click on the throttle to move the boat in the right direction.

The adventure starts in Washington D.C. where you’ll visit iconic locations like the Library of Congress, Lincoln Memorial and the Capitol Building, then moves through five other locations in Europe and Asia. One thing that’s unique about Book of Legends is that you can’t just traipse from one location to the next. Before you can travel, you have to earn enough money to purchase your plane ticket by doing odd jobs for clients.

These odd jobs are all variations on seek-and-find style gameplay – for example, Dr. Newbury has lost some items while on his tour of the Oval Office and asks you to find them. There’s straight up “find objects from the list,” a photo mode where you must take pictures of given objects by centering them in the camera lens, finding a set of items (such as 8 wigs or 5 birds), and “Put it back,” where you compare two versions of a scene side-by-side and must rearrange objects so that they’re in the correct places.

The conversations between the siblings start out by seeming entertaining thanks to the contrast in personality between the exciteable, over-enthusiastic Charlie and the reluctant and cynical Zoe. But there’s simply too much banal banter between the two, as they bicker back and forth, restate the obvious, and give away answers to puzzles instead of letting you figure it out for yourself. (Do we really need to hear Zoe say “When I hit the gavel pad three times, a compartment opened” when we’ve just seen it with our own eyes?”)

Difficulty was uneven as well. Either Charlie and Zoe hand-hold you through the puzzle and telling you exactly what you needed to do, or you get stumped by a vague clue like “Find a spot to use the letters,” which is the kind of problem that can only be solved by random clicking until you stumble on the right stpot.

Not that random clicking is an issue; the game won’t penalize you for it, and there are also no time limits. Your PDA grants unlimited hints (as long as you wait a few seconds for it to recharge), and you can click on any item in the list to see its silhouette.

The hint system itself was something I took issue with for the fact that it seemed unnecessarily complicated. Instead of simply highlighting or circling the item, the screen is divided into a grid with letters along one side and numbers along the other, and you’re given a coordinate to check – such as G7 or A3 – that indicates the general location of the item. The coordinate blinks for a few seconds then disappears, so you might miss it.

Book of Legends isn’t a bad game by any stretch, but unfortunately it’s just plain annoying in places. We’re fans of compelling stories here at Gamezebo, but in this case the bickering siblings were a little too much. On the positive side, Book of Legends offers average to above-average length for a hidden object game, and its unlimited hint system would make it suitable for someone who’s new to the genre and wants a game that’s not too difficult.