In mythology, Coyote was a trickster who loved to pull pranks – even if they often ended up backfiring. You’ll meet him, along with other important gods of the Aztec pantheon, in Coyote’s Tale: Fire and Water, a new hidden object game from Merscom and Go! Games.
The story begins when two young women vacationing in "what is now Mexico" meet Coyote and Max (a nickname for Macuilxochitl, the Aztec god of gaming and gambling), who warn them that chaos is right around the corner unless they can restore power to the universe by facing the challenges of 15 of the most powerful Aztec deities.
You get to choose which sister to play as: Tletl, who represents fire, allows you to play with a more challenging timed mode, whereas Atl, who represents water, offers a relaxed mode with no time limits to find all of the items in each scene.
The game is divided into 15 chapters that take place in 18 locations across Mexico, which include both important Aztec shrines like the ruins of Tenochtitlan, the Palace of Quetzacoatl, the Mitla Tombs, as well as more generic locales like a waterfall, cornfield and cave. By finding all the items in each scene, you’ll charge the girl’s magic staff enough for her to challenge one of the gods. Then, you must pass each god’s mini-game challenge to continue to the next chapter.
What’s nice about the hidden object sections of the game is that you can view the items to find either as a list of words, or as images that you can scroll through one by one to suit your gameplay style. You’re granted a limited number of hints, but can earn more by finding and clicking on special flowers in each scene. There are no penalties for random clicking in either mode.
The mini-games are enjoyable, offering a variety of challenges from jigsaw puzzles and memory games to various brainteasers involving mirrors, jugs of water and patterns. You can skip any mini-game that starts to try your patience.
For someone like me who wasn’t very familiar with Aztec culture before playing Coyote’s Tale: Fire and Water, the game proved an interesting introduction to some of the mythology’s rich stories and interesting characters (such as Tlaloc, the God of Rain and Water, Patecatl, the God of Medicine, and the "feathered snake" Queztacoatl, God of the Sky.)
Unfortunately, the characters weren’t as compelling as they should have been thanks to being saddled with corny dialogue and really, really bad voice acting. Also, characters are rendered as cartoons while the rest of the game is in a photorealistic style, which was a strange juxtaposition.
Experienced hidden object game players will find the game easy, with items and scenes that frequently repeat. Still, in spite of a shaky start, the game does pick up steam as you go along. Although you might be dismayed at how quickly you breeze through the first few chapters, pacing does improve in later chapters, which challenge you to find up to 150 items across several scenes.
Coyote’s Tale: Fire and Water is definitely a mixed bag, but can be charming in its own way. At the very least, it’s worth downloading the demo so you can see if it’s your cup of tea.