An acting catastrophe! Actastrophe!
Tales of Terror: Crimson Dawn starts with a clichéd storyline and lacks any variety thereafter to make the experience stand out. Your brother has been kidnapped, and as the loving sister, you’ll need to track him down in a seemingly deserted mansion, stop a cult from taking over the world, and make your way through an alternate plane (within mirrors) before your brother is lost forever.
While Tales of Terror contains hidden object scenes, these are relatively rare, leaving the experience to rely more on its puzzles and mini-games than anything else. The scenes that do exist are basic, with junkpiles containing items on a text-based list, and some objects that require interaction before being able to collect them (a wine glass that you must fill with wine, for instance). There are some click recognition in these scenes, as you may need to click on an item multiple times to actually pick it up, but if you do find yourself stranded, the game’s hint recharge meter fills incredibly quickly on the game’s easiest difficulty setting, so you won’t be stuck for long.
As you backtrack through the game’s environments, you’ll encounter live action actors that appear to have had no training whatsoever, as they’re completely emotionless. Even your brother, who finds himself trapped within the mansion’s mirrors, looks as though he’s stifling back laughter as he attempts to look distressed or scared. It would help if these interactions came with voiceovers, but the game lacks any sound effects whatsoever, aside from a bland soundtrack on a loop. It may be that the current download of Tales of Terror: Crimson Dawn is simply bugged, as the game’s menu offers a toggle for sound effect volume, but either way, this is an incredibly unfortunate oversight that’s simply unforgivable in a modern game (whether in the hidden object genre or not).
As you suffer from the game’s issues, you’ll be asked to complete the standard selection of puzzles and mini-games, ranging from pipe rotation to tile sliding. There are unfortunately more tile sliding or swapping puzzles than anything else, as slight variations on this single puzzle type are simply given a different skin each time you play them. That being said, none of the puzzles feel impossible or overly challenging, but many are fairly time consuming, adding length to an experience that’s otherwise lacking.
You can finish Tales of Terror within three hours on the game’s easiest setting (which adds sparkles to interactive scenes), but those looking for additional length or challenge do have two other options for difficulty, which either slow down the hint meter, or remove both it and the sparkles altogether.
Calling Tales of Terror: Crimson Dawn a scary hidden object game would be giving the title too much credit, as there’s nothing terrifying about the game at all. The game’s lack of sound effects (whether deliberate or a widespread bug) is amateurish, which is the same thing that can be said for the horrible acting by the game’s “living” characters. There’s nothing that makes this experience engaging or extremely entertaining, and while the hint system will allow you to quickly fly through the game on the easiest difficulty setting, that lack of challenge ultimately results in a boring, commonplace game that simply isn’t recommendable.