Lost Souls: Enchanted Paintings is a decent hidden object/adventure title, but lacks depth.
Lost Souls: Enchanted Paintings is a hidden object/adventure title that tackles every mother’s nightmare – a missing child. The gameplay never approaches difficult and the story ends up falling short, because it lacks the emotion behind the concept. It still ends up being an enjoyable experience, thanks to interesting puzzles and a solid adventure experience.
In Lost Souls: Enchanted Paintings, a woman receives a mysterious painting delivered to her door, which she hangs in her son’s room. In the middle of the night, she awakens when he calls out and rushes to his room, only to discover that he’s gone, and that the painting has changed to his image. After the police are no help, a fortune teller sends her on a journey that starts with the painting. However, the painting gets torn to shreds and scattered throughout different worlds that can be accessed through other paintings.
In each world, the player will have a main objective to complete to get a piece of the canvas, such as saving the people from a cold demon or restoring water to a pure state. While the story concept gets off to a good start, the emotion of her son being missing is lacking in the voice acting, the artistry and the writing throughout the story. At the end of the game, it just doesn’t feel like the mother cared all that much.
The gameplay involves three different elements. The first is a standard hidden object style of gameplay. The lists come in two forms, words and pictures, and players have to search the screen for objects in those lists. None of these levels are all that challenging and the hint system refreshes pretty quickly (even in Expert mode) if a player does get stuck.
The second type of activity is puzzles. These are scattered around the various worlds and present little to no challenge to the player, although some of them can be pretty fun, like the puzzle where gems have to be weighed using old style scales and scale weights. Puzzles can be skipped if needed, so they don’t have the slow the game down if one just presents too much of a challenge.
The third type of gameplay is adventure style, where players have to pick up objects and figure out where to use them. This can take the form of simply finding a key and putting it in a lock. It can also be more complicated, like finding all the pieces of a snowman and putting him back together. Not everything is accessible immediately and sometimes, other objects have to be used, like a rake to dig in the hay, to complete whatever task is presented to the player. This is definitely the most entertaining aspect of the gameplay, and presents a mild challenge, although once it gets near the end of each level, it’s pretty obvious what goes where. Some activities are monotonous and pointless, like having to brush off each canvas before being able to enter it, but most of the adventuring is fun.
There are two levels of difficulty, Easy and Expert. In Easy mode, hot spots are highlighted by stars and hints and skip puzzles are quicker to reload. Expert mode is misleading, because it’s actually very easy – the only real bonus to the simpler mode is the highlighted hot spots and not having those doesn’t make it all that much more difficult. There are no timed levels.
The art style is very attractive, bright and fantasy-like. Even the dark levels have a light about them that never takes this game into a creepy zone. Across different levels, players will encounter various worlds filled with fantastical creatures, like fairies and dwarves, but should leave their expectations at the door when it comes to what these creatures might look like (especially the dwarves).
Everything that can be interacted with in the world is generally obvious, and if it’s not, moving the mouse across the screen will change the cursor, so hot spots are easy to find. There are some voiceovers that introduce each chapter and the objective. The voice acting is not great, but it does the job, although the emotion is definitely lacking, both when the child is lost and when the child is recovered. The music is nice and works well with the setting.
Lost Souls: Enchanted Paintings is a fair hidden object adventure title. The game is fun, although extremely easy, and the storytelling lacks the emotion the story concept demands. It’s not too short and not too long – the average player will probably spend about four hours on it. Most of the inventory puzzles make sense and the other puzzles are usually enjoyable and not hard to complete. The hidden object aspect is decent, although again, very easy, and hints will rarely be needed, if at all. It’s a good game for a beginner to try out this style or for an experienced gamer looking for something fun, but not too challenging. The collector’s edition has screensavers, wallpapers, and other goodies that unlock once the game has been beat.