Universal Film Mogul should be as much fun as riding a DeLorean with King Kong, but it’s just an average hidden object game.
Hey kid. Wanna be in a movie? We all have dreams of stardom, but few of us have the talent and good looks to let us bluff our way beyond the security guard’s gate. In theory, we can realize our fantasies through Facebook fare like Universal Film Mogul, but all that gets you is repetitive tasks and long hours of work that bear small fruit. Maybe this game provides an accurate representation of Hollywood life after all.
You play the game as an up-and-coming film director. Universal has decided to throw money at you and your ideas, because apparently flushing money directly down the john just isn’t a quick enough way to get rid of it. As you play you’ll buy famous scripts, cast actors, premiere movies, and pray to the movie gods that you don’t wind up with another Waterworld.
Casting and directing movies is a small part of Universal Film Mogul. It’s a hidden object game (HOG) above all else, which means picking through scenes and clicking on listed items as quickly and accurately as possible. The better you do, the more points you earn towards winning, er, a “Golden Woody” award, which is a golden statue of Woody Woodpecker (sorry to disappoint). Golden Woodys are necessary for opening up more hidden object scenes.
Here’s the twist: said hidden object scenes are based on famous Universal movies. You hunt through scenes based on iconic moments from Back to the Future, The Breakfast Club, Bridesmaids, and more. It’s admittedly a lot of fun to look on these scenes and reminisce, though you might wonder why Doc Brown left the flux capacitor in the middle of the road.
While the scenes look good, the sound effects that accompany some of them are awful. It’s hard enough to search through The Breakfast Club‘s library without being distracted by screaming school bells and the banging of lockers. Moreover, you’re not going to come across too many classic themes, so don’t feel bad about turning down the sound.
Like most Facebook HOGs, Universal Film Mogul requires you to spend some allotted energy in order to play hidden object scenes. Playing a scene swallows a huge chunk of your energy store, so make it count. When you inevitably run out, you can kick back and build your own backlot with trailers, palm trees, famous movie sets, and lots more. You can also use your sound stage to film Universal’s movies in a ridiculously under-developed mini game. After casting your movie, you wait around for it to premiere. A successful premiere brings in more soft currency that you can spend on your backlot. Problem is, the game doesn’t much care which generic no-name actors you call up. You can literally cast a dog as King Kong, and your movie will still do OK at the box office.
Universal has given us some of the most imaginative and touching films of our lifetimes, so it’s disappointing that Universal Film Mogul feels fairly run of the mill as a free-to-play hidden object game. Fans of Universal’s movies will enjoy the game’s hidden object scenes, but otherwise there’s nothing here as exciting as re-watching an old classic.