There’s nothing in Family Tales: The Sisters that we haven’t seen before in more entertaining packages.
Family Tales: The Sisters is a fairly typical hidden object adventure game that doesn’t break the mold in any respect. Its storyline follows a woman’s journey to rescue her twin sister, with said journey taking players through the real world and alternate dimensions via both magical and scientific means. While there’s some good to be found in Family Tales: The Sisters, every positive is offset by one (or more) problems.
Haunted by dreams of a sister in trouble, players take on the role of a young woman on a mission to track down her sister, a woman with special abilities who has been haunted with dreams of her own. The game’s supernatural theme is ever-present, as the lost sister Anna is captured by a dark shadowy mist and transported into another dimension for use by a “Dark Lord” bent on taking over the world. As usual, there’s not enough shock and awe associated with the realization that multiple realities and supernatural phenomena exist, and our hero simply bounces between one dimension and the next with less than adequate emotion.
Dialog is presented solely through text, and there are no sound effects to accompany the experience. This may or may not be a glitch, as the game has a toggle for sound effect volume, but through due diligence, we’ve learned that we’re not the only ones to experience the game without sound effects. Either by bug or by design, this lack of sound effects makes an already average game quite dull and even boring.
Family Tales: The Sisters comes with lots of hidden object scenes to complete (some more than once), and there are multiple methods for completing some scenes. Some are standard interactive scenes focusing on items on text-based lists, while others are interactive silhouette scenes, asking you to find one item based on its shadow, and then use that item to find another, and continue on in a cyclic pattern until you’ve used all of the found items to complete the scene. These scenes are especially challenging given the game’s mostly dark graphics, and the fact that players aren’t given a starting point. You’re simply left to scrounge the area looking for any of the shadowy items, hoping that particular item is the right one to start the pattern of actions.
Puzzles are similarly flawed, as those that aren’t standard tile swapping or rotation puzzles often lack enough instructions to be easily solved. There are plenty of puzzles to complete, however, so players that can handle a bit of challenge are actually in for a treat here. It’s just unfortunate that the game doesn’t offer more help for those with less patience.
Family Tales: The Sisters comes with three difficulty settings, a hint meter that’s quite helpful (and charges quite quickly on the easiest setting), but no map to help players navigate. Thankfully, most of the game is split into chunks of environments that limit backtracking. At the same time, some items are used in unconventional ways, and there are some click recognition issues that find you clicking on an item more than once before finding the “sweet spot” to trigger an action.
Ultimately, Family Tales: The Sisters suffers from its lack of in-depth instructions, lack of sound effects and voice acting, and overall lack of polish. Some of the environments are quite pretty and uniquely designed, but the character models are rather lifeless and the whole game is left feeling pretty bland. There’s nothing here that we haven’t seen before in more entertaining packages, so only the most diehard of genre fanatics should invest the money here.