Not all hidden object games are created equal. With its charming story, high production values and adventure game-like puzzles, Treasure Seekers: Visions of Gold is one of the better ones available today.
The story — about a young girl and her brother unravelling family secrets and finding hidden treasure — might sound trite and overdone — but the way it’s told from Emily’s perspective, coupled with beautifully animated storyboard sequences, helps give purpose to your seek-and-find exercises.
In order to become accustomed to this unique interface, the game begins in Emily’s room, where you’re asked to put away items (such as clothes and toys). Unlike most hidden object games, there is no list of items to find on the screen. Instead your mouse will glitter over an object, such as a basket, and when you click the mouse you’ll see silhouettes of a few items you need to find that belong in there (such as scissors, ball, teddy bear and a broom) and a large circle where you’re supposed to drag and drop the item.
Sometimes you won’t be able to find the item you need until you look inside another object on the screen (such as a panel under the floorboards or hidden in a birdhouse) or you might need to solve another puzzle on the screen to get the last item you need for the first puzzle; there might be up to six different puzzles to solve in one scene (each with up to five items).
There is no timer, so you can relax as you click around the environment, and you’re not penalized for clicking incorrectly too many times. If you’re stuck, however, you can click the Hint button to reveal a hidden item, but you’ll need to wait a few minutes before it’s fully replenished to use again, if need be.
Players will also find Myst-like mini-games in order to advance through the adventure, such as a board game you need to play by placing pieces in the correct order (with limited clues), adjusting gears to enter locked doors and solving jigsaw puzzles (such as piecing together a torn pirate treasure map). These aren’t too tough, but players who have a hard time can bypass the mini-games altogether. Other tasks include finding a certain number of objects in one scene, such as 10 keys to open up grandma’s chest to access her diary.
While these mini-games are usually tied to the story – such as flicking switches in a fuse box to turn on the lights in the basement – the objects you’re looking for aren’t relevant. For example, in order to get into an old house where your brother is you need to find a bowling pin, milk jug, wooden rooster, horseshoe and skull. Say what?
If you don’t let these illogical items bother you, though, you’ll have fun playing through Treasure Seekers: Visions of Gold. Another minor issue is many items look the same (such a various hacksaws, hammers and mallets in one place), therefore it’s confusing which item you’re supposed to find based on the silhouettes.
Minor issues aside, we fell for this game’s charm, story and locations, and interesting spin on the hidden-object genre. Fans of these kinds of games will no doubt enjoy this wonderfully crafted tale, so don’t hesitate to dive in for a memorable adventure you won’t soon forget.