It’s odd to refer to a chronic murderer as “America’s favorite serial killer,” but that’s where we are with Dexter Morgan, the seemingly clean-cut star of the Dexter TV / novel series. Though Dexter is deplorable (which sounds like the title of a children’s book), he’s also sympathetic because he adheres to a personal code that sees him exclusively target slayers of the innocent.
The same code is front and center in Dexter: Hidden Darkness, a hidden object game (HOG) from BlooBuzz Studio. Hidden Darkness offers a series of “episodes” engineered specifically for the game, which is good news for content-starved Dexter fans — though the easily-depleted energy system driving the adventure means waiting for ages in between play sessions, unless you want to dish up a lot of blood money for recharges.
Dexter is a blood splatter analyst at the Miami-Metro Police Department, which puts him in direct touch with the kinds of people deserving of his special brand of justice. There are several cases to work through in Hidden Darkness, and though each one tells a different story, they largely play the same.
Since Hidden Darkness is a HOG, most of your “investigations” take place in environments that are inexplicably cluttered with weird objects. Each scene has a key object that moves the story forward, though this object will be gone if you re-visit a scene (which you must do in order to earn the points necessary to unlock other scenes).
There are other activity scenes besides the typical hidden object hunts. Sometimes you have to re-arrange tiles so that they form a complete picture, and other times you have to find as many objects as possible within a time limit.
All these activities serve a single purpose, and that’s to help Dexter zero in on his prey. Oftentimes, he nabs the correct perpetrator for a murder early in a case, but discovers there’s an even more nefarious criminal that the police overlooked. That’s when he steps in to perform a little additional investigating of his own — usually with the help of his father’s “ghost” — and it’s usually where the game’s story starts to get interesting, too. The writing for Dexter: Hidden Darkness doesn’t quite match up to the show’s scripts, but it’s certainly competent enough to keep you engaged.
It’s a shame, then, that each scenario you engage in seriously gulps down energy and demands high point totals in exchange for new scene unlocks. Making progress in Dexter: Hidden Darkness is slow going. Unless you’re prepared to spend significant amounts of real-world cash to recharge your energy again and again, you receive each case a drip at a time, which really kills the story’s momentum. Sure, murder mysteries are supposed to be suspenseful, but Hidden Darkness really takes things to the extreme.
Nevertheless, fans of both Dexter and HOGs will want to download Hidden Darkness if they’re longing for another hit of the boyish murderer. Casual fans of HOGs are better off spending time with an adventure that moves a bit more quickly.