Almost nothing has changed in this Letters from Nowhere sequel, but that’s not necessarily a good thing.
Back in October, we had a chance to take a look at Letters from Nowhere, which followed Audrey’s search for her missing husband. Where Audrey received mysterious letters in the first game, the story picks up here with the search for pages of a lost diary, that explain more about this still-vague story. Unfortunately, the gameplay in this sequel is identical to that of the first game, bringing with it the first game’s flaws.
Following the phrase “if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it,” Awem has released Letters from Nowhere 2, which offers an experience so similar to the first game, that you could connect the two portions into a single game while barely missing a beat. Most every aspect of gameplay has been carried over here – right down to the animated cursor and user interface.
Just as with the first game, your experience here is almost entirely hidden object-based, with you finding items on a list. Each scene contains 12 hidden items, along with a black cat and three stamps. Finding the cat and stamps in each scene is a voluntary process, but these items reward you with bonus points and will eventually unlock new gameplay modes outside of the main story (finding 50 stamps, for example, unlocks the “Unlimited Mode,” which has you searching one particular scene at a time on a time limit).
Each item on a scene’s list counts for points as well, and if you can find items in rapid succession, you’ll earn a “combo” bonus. Points are then used in between scenes to activate the returning power-ups, like a thermometer that shows you how “hot or cold” your cursor is, depending on how close you are hovering to an item.
You’ll unlock trophies for completing certain challenges in the game (complete scenes without using hints, complete an entire scene in under a minute, find a certain number of stamps, etc.), and along the way you will run into the occasional light puzzle, like a spot the difference puzzle, which admittedly are cleverly placed within the hidden object scenes themselves, creating a seamless process.
The problem with Letters from Nowhere continues to be a problem in this sequel: both games lack in overall variety. While the aforementioned puzzles do help to break up the monotony, you have no physical control of Audrey. There are no environments to investigate, as it’s simply you and a menu, completing one hidden object scene after another until each episode ends and you move onto the next to complete the process once more.
This isn’t to say that the game performs poorly, as the graphics are still just as pleasing as ever, and the entire experience is technically sound. It’s just unfortunate that Awem didn’t take this time to add more to the game.
For those who didn’t play the first game, it would be unfair to dock Letters from Nowhere 2 for not changing up the system. The gameplay here is for the most part a solid hidden object offering, but with so few breaks in the formula that you might want to take a few breaks. After all, how many times can you find a hidden skull before it becomes tedious? If you enjoyed the first game, and would enjoy an identical experience, or simply want to see where the story heads next, by all means pick this up. If you had problems with the first title, however, know that you’ll unfortunately have them again here.