This may be about a flight crash, but it’s a train wreck.
Severe Incident: Cargo Flight 821 deserves credit for trying something new. In this sci-fi hidden object adventure, you’ll play as the pilot of a cargo spaceship, which crashes during cryosleep on a lush jungle planet. Accompanied by only your talking robot, you’ll need to investigate a slew of environments while trying to find a way off of the planet. Unfortunately, this is one title that suffers from poor design choices from beginning to end.
From the start of the game, you’re met with frustrating gameplay and downright awful, ugly graphics. Almost every scene contains a sort of neon pink or teal glow, and this graphical palette is so initially jarring that you might even think there’s something wrong with your download file. Your first task in gameplay will be to gather your robot’s parts, as he was broken during the crash. Completing the inaugural item hunt is easier said than done, though, as you aren’t told how many pieces to collect, and the final product is inconsistent (so much so that you can easily spend minutes searching for matching pieces that don’t exist).
This is one case where losing your companion might have made the game more enjoyable, as the robot’s voice is horribly generated, and sounds more like a prepubescent male than anything mechanical. Unfortunately, the robot serves as your hint system and journal, storing all relevant information and the map of the planet. However, just like everything else in the game, both are flawed. The journal ultimately functions fine, by storing puzzle combinations or clues, buy proves to have a clumsy UI. The map is much worse off, and is a confusing mess of pink and black figures that does little to help orient you to your surroundings. With so many outdoor scenes looking similar and plenty of tropical overgrowth, it’s easy to get lost.
Furthermore, you’ll pick up items at random throughout the experience but will have no clue where to use them. The gameplay itself is fairly linear, requiring you to complete one action after another in a seemingly set pattern, but you’ll collect items that you won’t use until far into the future. So far in fact as to make things unnecessarily confusing and difficult. The game’s slow hint-recharge meter does little to help matters, as it will randomly display “Skip” while investigating a location, rather than “Hint,” giving you no help whatsoever when you need it most.
When you do come across a hidden object scene, they prove to be blurry, massive junkpiles with poor item naming and (if possible) worse visuals than anywhere else in the experience. In addition, duplicate items add even more confusion to a situation already full of it, as frustration sets in after you’ve clicked on the same item a dozen times only to see a duplicate object on the other end of the scene. Puzzles thankfully fair better, with basic tile rotation puzzles satisfying those who hanker for combo memorization; but even still, these enjoyable instances are so few and far between that your patience likely won’t last long enough to experience them.
Putting it simply, Severe Incident: Cargo Flight 821 isn’t a fun game. Whether it’s your annoying sidekick or the horrible, oddly colored graphics, there’s an element in every scene of the game that causes annoyance or frustration, leaving the game with very few redeeming qualitie of which to speak. This is one case where “credit” for trying something new can only go so far, as ideas are poorly executed and any attention to detail has been completely overlooked. Even the most hardcore of hidden object gamers should stay far away from this one.