In Holly 2 – Magic Land, the visually appealing sequel to Holly – A Christmas Tale, we find Holly, the suburban wife, mother and clandestine fairy, on another magical hidden object adventure after her daughter goes missing. Holly, along with her adorable friends, will need your help as she travels and searches through beautiful lands to findthe items needed to get her and her daughter home safe and sound.
Holly, a Wife and Mother with a heart of gold, helps anyone who is in need. It’s Holly’s Birthday, and she learns that her young daughter has disappeared through an enchanted storybook portal to the land of magic. Indebted to Holly for saving Christmas, the Elves have returned to help her find her daughter.
After travelling to the land of magic with the help of a magical gnome, Holly encounters many enchanted creatures such as the lovable mole, the precocious ant that loves sweets, and the machinist that always needs tools. Holly’s search is not an easy task, since several obstacles stand in her way.
The game has 49 search screen levels and six varying mini-game levels. Gameplay consists of finding the hidden objects listed and clicking on them to remove them. Some levels will require you to find all of one type of item, and others will have multiple items listed in text, picture, or silhouette form. You can only click on items while they are showing in the list window. There are no points awarded, and you can only progress once the level has been completed.
You are given three hints, and every time you find three "magic golden strawberries" you will earn another hint that will accumulate and carry over to the next level. Each screen allows you to earn one extra hint. If you need to leave the game it will save the level you are on, but you will lose any progress you had made. The game can be replayed with items in new places each time, but you can only start from the beginning of the game or the last level you played.
As a fan of the first Holly game, I had high hopes for the sequel. Unfortunately, with the exception of the stunning artwork, most other components left me disappointed as it appears Holly 2 doesn’t quite match the successful formula of the first game. The storyline was cute and well told, but childish. The game was noticeably easier than its predecessor, and many levels could be completed in less than a minute. Those that were more difficult were only due to one or two well hidden items. The "golden strawberries" needed for hints jumped off the screen, and the ones I accumulated, I never needed.
I was able to easily complete the game in three hours at a relaxed pace, which is fairly short compared to other hidden object games. The six mini-games, which were built in as timed game levels, consisted of the usual fare such as recreate the pictures, match the items, place the jewels in the puzzle, and re-arranging pipes until they form a single unit. I found the pipe mini-game the most challenging aspect of the entire game.
The music was much less enjoyable than the first game, and left me frequently irritated. At the completion of each level there is fanfare music that is so loud in comparison to the background music, I would jump out of my skin each time it played. I was confused as to why the levels were timed when there are no points to be earned, and you can’t progress until you find all the required items anyway.
Stunning artwork is just not enough to make this a top hidden object game, but I would not call Holly 2 hopeless. Young children will find delight in the artwork and storyline, and if played with a parent, it could provide hours of fun "together time."
Gamers that like a real challenge in their hidden object game will be frustrated however, and overall this game is best suited for those who are either young, new to hidden object games, or enjoy a relaxed, low pressure game experience with a cute story and happy ending. I would highly recommend trying the demo to this game before purchase to see if this is the game for you.