Death at Fairing Point breaks no new ground but delivers some interesting twists.

Romeo and Juliet. Samson and Delilah. Archie and Edith Bunker. Throughout history, all the great romances of lore have ended in the same way: tragedy and death. It’s a tradition that holds true in Death at Faring Point: A Dana Knightstone Novel, a new hidden object whodunnit that doesn’t break any new ground but delivers some interesting twists along the way to solving a centuries-old mystery.

In Death at Faring Point, you are Dana Knightstone, a novelist, and you’re in Scotland. Why? Maybe you’re seeking inspiration for your next book, or maybe you just like the weather. In any event, soon after your arrival you notice a ghostly apparition standing outside your window. It turns out that the ghost is, or more accurately was, a 19th-century chap named David. David was in love with Charlotte, but David was a poor artist and her mother didn’t approve. William was also in love with Charlotte, and William was filthy rich, but Charlotte loved David. Then David turned up dead. William, seeing an opening, made his move, but Charlotte rejected him. Then Charlotte turned up dead too. Scotland in the 1800s was apparently kind of an unhealthy place for romantics. And so the adventure begins!

 A Dana Knightstone Novel

Death at Faring Point is really more of an adventure game than a hidden object game. There are a handful of conventional hidden object scenes but for the most part the searches are used to suss out clues, inventory items and pieces to various puzzles. Puzzles are the real name of the game; there are a lot of them, and while there are one or two tricky bits, for the most part they’re very familiar and not terribly challenging. There’s nothing here that should hold you up for very long but if you do happen to get hung up, the usual timer-based hint function will point out objects, complete puzzle steps or, if you’re just standing around in a hallway wondering where to go next, give you a shove in the right direction.

The game is a bit on the plain side visually, clean and pleasant but not particularly stunning. Music is unobtrusive to the point of being entirely forgettable, while the voice acting, which is limited to Dana Knightstone’s narration, is clear, reasonably expressive and quite sufficient for the job. Technically, the game is a rock, with no glitches, bugs, crashes or weird translation errors, and at about four hours in length, not including the bonus chapter included with the Collector’s Edition, it’ll keep you busy for a good while.

That’s great as far as it goes; unfortunately, Death at Faring Point doesn’t go very far with it. Like so many games in the genre, it’s perfectly competent but very formulaic. From the basic gameplay to the story about a novelist, ghosts and a doomed love from a different era, there are no surprises here. (Okay, there is one small surprise, but I’m not going to spoil it for you.) Not that there’s necessarily anything wrong with that, but it’s bit like watching Law & Order reruns: sooner or later, even the classic Mike and Lenny episodes start to get a little dull.

 A Dana Knightstone Novel

The Collector’s Edition is a letdown to say the least, limited to just a single extra chapter that tacks on another 45 minutes of gameplay but really doesn’t add anything of value to the story itself. There are no wallpapers, no soundtrack, no cool goodies of any sort; a strategy guide is included but given the relative simplicity of the game I can’t imagine anyone needing it, and in this day and age strategy guides are almost irrelevant anyway. As a Collector’s Edition it is very disappointing, and more to the point it’s just not worth paying extra for.

Death at Faring Point: A Dana Knightstone Novel isn’t a revolution but it is still a very good hidden object adventure that’s especially enjoyable for gamers with a taste for romance. The Collector’s Edition is a big disappointment and anyone considering it should be aware of how little it offers, but the game itself is good, solid adventuring fun and well worth a look.