Looking to curl up with a compelling hidden object game? You won’t be disappointed in Big Blue Bubble’s Masters of Mystery: Crime of Fashion, a story-driven puzzler with plenty of levels to play through, mini-games to master and interesting characters to interact with.
You play as Carrie Chase, a detective who investigates the murder of a New York fashion designer. Carrie soon comes to the disturbing realization she’s dealing with a serial killer out for more blood. The story, which plays out like an episode of CSI — complete with forensics tools, lab analysis and deduction — is quite good and with a few twists, too. Plus, the diverse characters you’ll meet are memorable and many lines of dialogue are well-written.
The bulk of the game-play is a straightforward hidden object puzzler. This involves looking at a messy scene littered with objects and you must read which ones to look for listed on the right-hand side of the screen. Once you find the item you click on it, which removes it from the list. You’ll have a certain amount of time to find all items listed and if you need a hint you can click to get one.
Unlike some games of this kind, the items you need to search for are relevant to the story or location. At the end of Chapter 1, for example, you’ll search through a backstage dressing room and be asked to find magazines, scissors and an envelope — then return to the yacht of a suspect and collect all the cut-out letters. A mini-game has you then drag and drop the letters in the correct order to spell out words, which will likely be a clue to the killer’s identity or motive. You get the idea. This is a refreshing change to those hidden object games that ask you to find ridiculously irrelevant items such as a hotdog, sink, picture frame, soda can and battery — and all underwater, no less.
What’s more, some items you find will be placed in your inventory and used on crime scene, including a flashlight in dark environments, UV light to search for blood stains, a duster for fingerprints and magnifying glass for close-ups. Speaking of close-ups, some items on the screen can be searched further, such as a briefcase or purse you can look through. Kudos to Big Blue Bubble for keeping the player immersed in the story at all times throughout all 25+ levels and with the more than 500 items to find.
Other examples of detective-related mini-games including looking at two blood samples and finding differences between them or matching fingerprints on a computer based on their shape. The high production values of Masters of Mystery: Crime of Fashion also help retain the suspension of disbelief, with high-resolution objects and environments (and with some animation on each scene opposed to a static image) and atmospheric music and sound effects, such as lightning crashes.
The game isn’t perfect, however, since it only has one game mode (which hurts its replayability), and some items were confusing such as looking for champagne glasses in a night club (some flutes were for champagne, others had white wine in it) and being asked to find a map on the screen and there were two of them (one correct, one incorrect).
Neither of these two issues will ruin your experience with this game, though. Masters of Mystery: Crime of Fashion is a highly enjoyable hidden-object game that doesn’t feel like the story is an afterthought, and shines in its attention to detail and relevancy thanks to clever items, tools and mini-games. Well done, indeed.