THEM: The Summoning doesn’t meet today’s HOG standards
When THEM: The Summoning opens you receive a call from a friend whose wife has recently passed away. He believes she is haunting him and he needs your help. Shortly after you arrive at your friends home he is killed as well and you find yourself the prime suspect for both deaths. You must find out what really happened and clear your name. Along the way the ghostly specter of your friends wife keeps appearing to you. Is she really a ghost, or are you slowly losing your mind?
The first thing you need to know about THEM: The Summoning is that it is a pure hidden object game. There are a couple simple puzzles thrown in and a couple inventory puzzles but all those do is unlock another hidden object scene. If you are looking for a game with challenging puzzles and adventure elements, this is probably not the game for you.
The story doesn’t always seem to fit with the hidden object scenes you are searching through. Early in the game you decide you need to pack your bags to visit your friend. You would think that you’d be searching for items you’d be taking with you on your trip, but instead you are collecting items like a dirty dish.
The story itself is presented in text, and if you don’t read it fast enough it will disappear off the screen. If you aren’t paying attention you can find yourself confused about what’s going on very quickly. The way that your character reacts to the story is odd as well. The story is pretty dark being about murder and betrayal and so on, but your character reacts with really bad jokes and seemingly brushing off the fact that his friend may have been a murderer. Nothing seems to really phase them, and it’s odd since they are being framed for these crimes.
The hidden object scenes are everywhere. Every scene you enter will have you searching for around 14 items and there are also ten bonus items to find. What these items are changes with each scene. You will probably find them by accidentally clicking on one, or you’ll notice that they sparkle. If you find all ten bonus items you will unlock an extra which will allow you to return to the hidden object scene and play it again.
The hidden object scenes themselves are photorealistic. Items are in proportion to the scene usually, although this is frustrating when you are searching for an item like a mini SD card…try finding that in a room full of random junk. A lot of the items you are looking for are tiny or skinny or blend in with the background a little too well. There are also items that are hidden behind objects or in drawers. These items are not marked and half the time you won’t even realize that the area they are hidden in changes (for instance an item hidden in a hidden compartment in a desk, not a drawer, a hidden compartment you can’t see). Thankfully, the hint button recharges quickly.
The music in THEM is suitably creepy but the sound effects can overpower it at times. There is a sound every time you find an object and it gets old fast. Thankfully, you can adjust the sounds in the options menu.
In the end, THEM: The Summoning is a hidden object game with a story tacked on. It plays like a game that would have been released about five years ago, and doesn’t meet the standards of the games being released today. The game does set itself up for a sequel, and the story has potential. Hopefully the next game will take the gameplay to the next level.