Join Sophia, an adventure-seeker and perfume extraordinaire from the 1940’s in Passport to Perfume as she travels the world to find the illusive scent of Marie Antoinette’s own fragrance. Mix, match, and create new scents all while managing your own shop in this new time management title brought to you by PlayFirst and Mean Hamster Software.
Sophia is running her own small perfume shop when one day a man named William gives her a mysterious parcel containing her late father’s diary. Inside he lists the mysterious ingredients and locations of their lifelong dream: to rediscover and create Marie Antoinette’s very own fragrance. Filled with a whole new motivation at the prospect of attaining their goal, Sophia decides to expand her own shop and fly to the various locations with the intention of recreating the secretive fragrance and stocking it in her own shop. But she must hurry, knowing she’s not the only one trying to find it.
Passport to Perfume is a classic time management title with interesting and original new twists. In addition to managing the Perfume Shop in three different locations, for a total of 48 combined levels and weeks, Sophia must travel to various locations around the world to find her ingredients for her perfumes. These locations are interpreted as hidden object levels, in which you must find all the ingredients on the list to complete and return to the Perfume Shop. There are 15 total.
Another original aspect is the ability to create and mix your own perfumes in three varieties: Floral, Asian, and Woody mixes. Ingredients discovered and obtained during outings (hidden object levels) will be added to your House Blends menu, allowing you to mix and match to find the perfect combination of filling speed and value.
Furthermore, players will be required, like any store owner, to stock items for their shop such as bottles for House Blends and other types of perfumes. Various upgrades are also available for purchase which will enhance your shop, machinery, and customer experience.
The gameplay for Passport to Perfume is very well done. Customers have a good patience level, and moving around and managing tasks is relatively easy to do even in the later levels. Everytime a new item or feature is added, the game will initiate a series of hints or a small tutorial. The difficulty level is also very forgiving, allowing newer players to be able to complete the days without too much hassle, however it’s not adjustable. The amount of money earned throughout the course of the weeks is really dependant on the unique House Blends the player creates. And the House Blends menu: well, let’s just say it’s a whole lot of fun.
However, there are also drawbacks to Passport to Perfume. The hidden object levels are extremely obvious and far from a challenge: a disappointment to hidden object fans. When playing on the actual time management levels, players will also have to be careful to click specific machine buttons instead of the machine itself: clicking on the machine itself to make it work, which tends to be second-nature in time management titles, will only make Sophia set the perfume there: the machine itself won’t do anything until the button is pressed. Sometimes this can hang up gameplay.
Furthermore the story, which started out strong and interesting, is very poorly wrapped up in the end and gives the impression of being very rushed and sloppy. The lack of voices and artwork accompanied by large dialogues without names makes you wonder what’s happening and who’s talking, and chances are even afterwards you won’t know. The dramatic developments near the end of the story are often just mentioned in the beginning of the ending levels, making it very anti-climactic and disappointing.
Yet that’s certainly not enough to write off Passport to Perfume, which boasts very fun time management play and a very creative perfume-making menu and feature. The game is set up in such a way that both new players and experienced ones can really enjoy the game without getting stuck. For those who’ve finished the game and want more of a challenge, there’s also an Endless Search mode available. Overall, a good game with a good length that time mnagement fans should enjoy.