Blatshire, England. 1756. You’re on your way home to see your wife and kids who just got settled in a brand new castle. It’s quite comfy according to their letters, and the children are having a great time running around exploring. As soon as you arrive, things get strange. People go missing, secret passageways open behind book cases, and some supernatural force makes its malefic presence known. Guess you’ll need to do a little ghost busting before you start to unpack.
Ominous Objects: Family Portrait is a casual adventure game that’s filled with little diversions. When you’re not poking and prodding at mysterious corners of your haunted castle, you’ll be solving tons of mini-games, sifting through hidden object scenes, and wondering why everything in this house is trying to kill you, especially the paintings. It’s a lively experience from beginning to end with just enough puzzle solving to give your brain a good tease.
Hidden object scenes in Ominous Objects do their best not to break the mold. Each one features a text list of items with a surprising number of interactive objects on the list. Uncover or assemble the highlighted items to collect them, but everything else is as easy as pointing and clicking. Nothing is hidden too cleverly in the hidden object scenes, so don’t worry about going on pixel hunts or anything like that. Just kick back and enjoy the wonderful artwork.
What really keeps the Family Portrait experience moving is its plethora of mini-games. These things are practically around every corner. Whoever designed this castle must have had a penchant for puzzles. To unlock a door you’ll need to solve a traffic-style sliding puzzle. To crack open a chest you have to arrange tiles so the picture is complete. These are just a few examples of the small but satisfying array of mini-games Ominous Objects throws at you. They’re simple and largely predictable, but they’re well-executed and fun to complete, and that’s what counts.
While Ominous Objects: Family Portrait does a great job stitching puzzle objectives, mini-games, and hidden object scenes into a seamless experience, the whole thing doesn’t really stretch the boundaries of the genre. It’s a safe game with a safe setting and a safe story, the kind of casual adventure everyone expects it to be. What’s here is certainly put together well, however. It may not be a leader in innovation, but Ominous Objects knows how to give you a great afternoon of slightly spooky puzzle solving fun.