If you’ve ever dreamed of a career in Hollywood, but don’t fancy working as a waiter while you start, maybe working as a talent agent is a good idea. That’s the premise of Leeloo’s Talent Agency, a cute but simple time management and hidden object game that has you casting actors, doing make-up, and creating promotional material for up-and-coming stars.
Leeloo was born into a family of actors. Her parents played in many movies, but alas, all in minor roles that no one remembered. Never the less, Leeloo dreamed of following in their footsteps and becoming an actress, but her parents strictly forbade it. They wanted her to be something nice and practical, like a lawyer or a bank teller. Leeloo obeyed and got a degree in economics, but still dreamed of the cinema.
With a degree in economics and a passion for acting, she decided to rent a small studio in a suburb of Los Angeles and open up a talent agency. Her very important job involves preparing actors and actresses for their roles in upcoming films, including western, sci-fi, medieval fantasy, family comedy, and sports movies.
The game play in Leeloo’s Talent Agency can be broken into two parts – the “casting” time management section, and the “filming” hidden object section.
In the casting portion of the game, the actors and actresses that enter Leeloo’s studio have a variety of needs, which vary slightly from person to person. Most actors will require a script, which entails bringing them to an armchair and waiting for them to select a role. You can cast an actor for a role by selecting the matching picture icon. Once cast, an actor may need make up. This is easily done by placing him in the make up chair and clicking on him.
Other tasks are more involved and interesting, and require multiple steps. For the screen test, take the actor to the film set. He’ll pose for the camera. Click the shadow shot that matches his pose (using the smiley mask as a guide). During the recording task, you will be shown a picture of a sound wave with a section removed, and must select the missing piece that best fits. For the hand camera task, you need to toggle through the images to select the clearest color image to use. During the magazine shoot, you must select the pictures which fit in the frame of the news articles.
Sometimes actors get hungry. They will place an order, and you’ll need to go fetch it at the food cart. This involves putting together sandwiches but clicking on the proper components, like buns and meat and cheese.
Like all time management games, actors and actresses have limited patience, so you need to serve them promptly. Some have more patience than others to start. This shouldn’t be much of problem, since they have way more patience than needed. The only benefit to keeping them very happy is that you earn more cash, which is only useful in terms of gaining upgrades.
Once an actor has completed all of his work, you must sign a contract with him by clicking on the desk, and he will happily leave your studio. There is a clock in the upper right corner that shows the time remaining until the end of the shooting day. Once it’s over, new actors will not show up. The "goal field" tells you the number of actors you need to cast in a day. The "actors cast" field tells you how many you have already cast. You can achieve an expert goal by serving a higher number of actors. In order to advance, you must serve the minimum number of actors each day.
After the casting, you are taken to a film set. This is the hidden object section of the game. You are shown pictures of the items you must find, and you need to find all of the hidden objects shown. Objects may be rotated and shaded, so its challenging, but not as much as a standard hidden object game. At least one item in every scene requires an extra step to uncover. For example, you may need to find all of the match sticks in order to light some hay on fire, in order to uncover a tomahawk underneath. You aren’t told which items require this second step, but thankfully you get refilling, unlimited hints, and the list of objects is generally very small (around half a dozen).
All together, you can expect 4 or 5 hours of game play. While you are offered a chance to replay levels, this appears to be in endless mode. I wasn’t able to find a way to play individual levels over in order to try for an expert score.
One great strength of Leeloo’s Talent Agency is that it changes frequently. Each new movie (four levels long) involves a different film theme and music. As you gain new stations for your actors and actresses, you lose old ones, so the game stays interesting with different tasks at each level. The tasks are original, though simple, and the pacing speed makes the game easy but still fun to play.
Despite some originality, there are a host of small annoyances to be encountered, especially in the hidden object scenes. Actors may be holding items you are looking for, but those are rarely accepted as a solution, since there is generally another instance of the item in the screen. The secondary steps required are also unclear in some cases. It’s not obvious that you should hand fruit to the woman in the family movie, for example. Hidden objects are well obscured, and many are very VERY tiny (especially in windowed mode). Still, most of the irritations are manageable, and shouldn’t cause a player to get stuck.
On the whole, Leeloo’s Talent Agency is very easy to beat, and is a bit rough around the edges. However, there’s a lot of originality in the themes and tasks, making it a decent addition to the time management genre, and worth playing the trial.