Attention all scrapbookers! There must be plenty of you here, since an estimated 1 out of 3 households has a scrapbook hobbyist at home. Whether you’re a traditional or digital scrapper, you might want to check out Scrapbook Paige, a hidden object game that’s all about… well… scrapbooking.
The premise is simple. You get to help Paige out at her scrapbook shop, and can choose between timed or untimed relaxed mode. At each level, three areas of the shop will be highlighted for you to explore, like the stamp section, the pegboard, or the baby or wedding drawer. Once you’ve selected a spot, you’ll be shown a list of nine objects to find. These are perfectly and logically blended into the scrapbooking paraphernalia in each scene. There’s always a “riddle” object included, so you’ll also be given a simple riddle to solve by finding the relevant item.
The objects are pretty small, but this isn’t a problem because there’s magnifying glass which allows you to carefully examine even the tiniest objects. Don’t be put off if you’ve experienced bad in-game magnifiers in the past. This one is crystal-clear and really does it’s job.
You are timed, but the timer is extremely generous. You have around 30 minutes to complete each level, but I generally finished in less than half that time. There is also a hint function if you do get stuck. It doesn’t find objects for you, but rather highlights the region where an object may be found.
Despite the limitations of this hint system, you really won’t be getting stuck that often. There might be a dozen candles in a picture, but you’ll only need to find six or seven. While this certainly takes the pressure off, it does make the game a bit too easy for experienced players.
There are also multiple solutions to most items (so, several “bats” are accepted, including the winged creature and baseball bats). Finding less obvious solutions earns you extra points. Allowing for this ambiguity is a clever addition that most game developers overlook.
Once you’ve beaten a hidden object level, you’ll be asked by a customer to design a specific scrapbook page. These pages cover a variety of themes, like Christmas, a birthday, a wedding, a new pet, or a trip overseas. You are timed to start, and must page through your decorative items to find the specific items which fit within the black outlines on your page. You’ll earn a star for each item you find.
After you’ve finished, you will be given the optional chance to personalize the page and increase it’s star value. Customers pay more for a page with more stars. Even if you’ve missed some items in the timed section, you can still get full star credit by continuing to decorate the page, so there’s really no pressure. You can place items anywhere you’d like, and rotate them by clicking the mouse, so there’s a lot of customization possible.
Every so often, you’ll have the chance to play the “speed round.” Here, you are given a short period of time to locate multiple items of the same type. For example, you may be asked to find birds, hearts, sea creatures, or sports items. These items are blended into the background fabric, making them tough to spot. You can use your hint function if you need it, and can earn some nice bonus points here.
Now, about the graphics: it’s all done in photorealism. The objects are legitimate scrapbooking items, as evident by all the thanks in the credits. Everything is seamlessly blended, so there’s no awkward snips or paste jobs to be found. The background music is jazzy and suitable, and the minimalist sound effects fit nicely.
On the downside, once you’ve beaten the game there’s not much replay value. The 4-5 hours of game play really fly by, which is a sign of a good game, though you might find yourself wanting more once you’re through. Also, there aren’t many scenes in the game, so you should expect to play the same screens and find the same objects several times over. It would be nice to have more backgrounds to explore. If you really can’t find an object, you’re out of luck, since the hint system never does more than show you a general area (although the objects are mostly clear and obvious).
Still, Scrapbook Paige offers something different with it’s scrapbooking theme and mini-game. Provided you aren’t looking for a hard core challenge, it’s a relaxing and easy-to-play hidden object game with good production values, and no stressful elements anywhere to be found.