Another magical adventure through the land of Azada.
As it turns out, you’re the chosen one! Accepting your role without much thought, you’re quickly swept in to the drama that is Azada: Elementia, the fourth game in the long-running Azada series. This time around, your job is to save the world of Azada from Panoptes, an all-around evil character who controls the elements. He’s obviously up to no good, so at Titus’ suggestion, you head out to set things right.
Azada: Elementa starts with this strange, somewhat awkward scene where you accept a glowing package from a cab driver in a hoodie who teleports instead of walking. Inside the box is a magic bottle and a flying cat. At this point, most people would probably just go back to bed, but you press on, curious as to who this Titus character is and why he insists you’re the chosen one who can save the world of Azada. You soon find yourself peering and traveling between realms as you hunt down Panoptes.
Much of Azada is focused on mini-games and one-step puzzles, many of which utilize the mysterious bottle that lets you peer through to the other realm. Hidden object scenes are frequent and feature a number of interactive elements shown as red items in your list. Adding hats to dolls, opening drawers, lighting candles and the like will all be a part of your search quest, which bestows upon you an important item once complete.
Explorable areas are easily accessed by a quick travel map, a handy item that shows you unfinished puzzles and lets you hop around with a few simple clicks. Be ready to whip out the magic potion often in Azada. Holding it in front of you lets you peer through to the other realm, and dousing it on certain objects can have unpredictable results. It’s a bit of a gimmicky inclusion, to be honest, but it serves its purpose and adds quite a bit of mystery when you know another world is right in front of your eyes.
Azada: Elementa comes with plenty of extras, including wallpapers, concept art, screen savers, access to the mini-games and hidden object scenes, and quite a bit more. There’s even a special feature to save printable images suitable for breaking out the crayons and coloring in, which an unusual but welcomed addition. The game itself features a number of collectibles such as the pet helpers and books filled with information on Azada’s inhabitants.
Of all the well-woven elements in Azada: Elementa, the one place where it trips over itself is in the graphics department. Quite often you’ll bump into scenes where the color scheme makes it difficult to see items or areas to inspect. Navigation can be tricky with well-hidden “close” buttons for pop-up windows and the occasional item of interest obscured by an animation. Nothing that destroys the gameplay by any means, but the annoyances are frequent enough to add up.
Some of the extra elements, such as the customizable pet section, feel a little out of place. But the game’s world is large and filled with things to investigate, and even with those distractions it’s a fulfilling experience. It may not be as true to the classic Azada style as previous releases, but it’s still a well-crafted hidden object game with a lot going for it.