Biggest Little Adventure is a hidden object game with some classic point and click adventure elements.
Don’t you just hate it when you’re signing for a delivery and the courier spontaneously shrinks to the size of a coffee mug? Okay, it’s not such a common occurrence, but it’s one faced by New Yorker Ruby Benson at the beginning of Biggest Little Adventure. Being the conscientious, well bred 1920s gal that she is, she decides to help the poor shrinkee by embarking on a globe spanning journey to find the cure.
This unfortunate miniaturised man is Louis, who agreed to run the delivery errand for Ruby’s uncle in London. During the handover of the package, it seems that something spilled out and caused his peculiar transformation. Before you know it, the unlikely pair are stowing away together on a boat headed for England.
This rather strange (and overly lengthy) introduction sets up a pretty average hidden object game. You’ll encounter a number of familiar static scenes, each laden with dozens of objects ranging from binoculars and umbrellas to hats and scrolls. In amongst this random bric-a-brac – which for some reason you have to collect in order to complete your ever-updating scavenger list – you’ll find mission-specific objects that push the story along.
One early example sees you finding a bunch of ripped up journal pages which have been scattered throughout the ship you’re on. Once you’ve located all of the bits, it triggers a bonus mini-game where you have to reassemble the journal. This then gives you a clue as to the ingredients of Louis’s cure, and moves you on to the next stage of the story.
I liked how well the game flowed from one scene to the next. While many hidden object games feel like a series of unrelated puzzles stitched together, the developer of Biggest Little Adventure has managed to make it feel relatively cohesive. This is achieved by the simple but effective trick of having you click to move to the next location (and often back again), such as into a car or through a door, which lends the game the feel of a classic point and click adventure.
This is carried through to a limited degree of interactivity within some of the scenes. Occasionally some of the objects you collect are set aside for special use, whether it be in the current scene or a bit later. You might need to use a curtain tassel to complete a train’s chain-pull, for example. You may even need to combine several objects to form an improvised tool of some kind, which is all very A-Team.
It has to be said that such diversions, while a welcome change of pace from the object finding, aren’t particularly well executed. In fact, it can often be a little confusing trying to work out what you need to do in these situations, more through poor implementation and inadequate instruction than any devious design.
The hidden object system at the game’s core, too, is far from the best we’ve encountered. The game seems to opt for quantity over quality, packing each scene with objects rather than attempting to hide fewer with more skill. Indeed, I found myself having great success through randomly clicking on objects early on in rounds, without even consulting the list.
Biggest Little Adventure tries admirably to differentiate itself from similar games through its quirky story and an extra layer of interactivity. Neither skilful enough as a hidden object game nor involved enough as a point and click adventure, though, it finds itself falling in between two stools.