Turning people into puppets is a really petty way of solving your problems.

In a dark, twisted take on the story of the Pied Piper, Fairy Tale Mysteries: The Puppet Thief sees a shadowy, evil figure abducting children from a peaceful town called Arbourshire. Children have been vanishing from the town for decades, with the first abduction being reported a hundred years ago.

It’s now 1818, and the organization the Brothers Grimm has employed you, a rookie investigator, to head to the town and try to discover what is going on. The townspeople are angry, and a mob has formed by the gates. Your contact, the Silver Magician, is distraught and no help whatsoever as his own daughter–his only child–has also just disappeared.

It seems that the town’s youngsters have been turned into puppets by an evil creature named the Puppet Thief. You must stop him and free the children that have been trapped by his curse.  Fairy Tale Mysteries: The Puppet Thief is a hidden object game with adventure elements and mini game puzzles. It features a great story, superb voice-overs and plenty of hidden object scenes and fun puzzles to complete.

Fairy Tale Mysteries: The Puppet Thief

The one criticism I have of the game is that the hidden object scenes could be more detailed and interesting. However, each one is used sparingly and some of the objects are very cleverly hidden – seemingly a lost art in many of the latest hidden object games, and this certainly makes up for it.

The mini games are standard fare, including sliding tile puzzles, jigsaws and pipe puzzles, but they are all very well done and fun to play. The locations you explore are various places in the village, including a magician’s shop, a pub, a graveyard and the sewers. All have been drawn to look creepy and slightly menacing. The game is incredibly atmospheric, and although you run into the occasional character to talk to, you still feel very isolated and alone as you explore these sinister places.

To advance in the game, you will sometimes need to use things that you’ve picked up along the way, use tools that you have discovered in hidden object scenes, or solve puzzles to open doors or collect more helpful items. Despite never having an overloaded inventory at any one point, figuring out what is needed and where is enjoyable and clever – but never too clever for the game’s own good.

There is full voice acting in the game and it’s incredibly well done. The writing is superb and the story is excellent. It’s revealed slowly in a combination of written entries in your notebook and conversations with the characters you’ll meet along the way.

Fairy Tale Mysteries: The Puppet Thief

If you splash out on the Collector’s Edition, you’ll be treated to a whole load of wallpapers and concept art as well as a bonus game to complete. The bonus game is a good length, and features an entirely new location and mystery to solve for the Brothers Grimm.

This is the first in Gogii Games’ series The Fairy Tale Mysteries – if you buy the Collector’s Edition and play through the bonus chapter, you will get a clue as to which fairy tale the developers will be turning dark and twisted next.

It has been a year that has produced some fantastic hidden object games, and Fairy Tale Mysteries: The Puppet Thief is one of the very best.