Why wait until you’re dead before your will is read? It’s more fun to see your heirs sweat it out and battle over your money. At least that’s the idea behind Annie’s Millions, a quirky hidden object game that has you shopping like mad to win Uncle Dave’s millions.
The story is the most interesting part of the game. Uncle Dave D’Nero decides he’d rather pass his riches while he’s still alive. The trouble is, he’s not sure who to give it to. As his niece, Annie is surprised to find herself involved in a rather funny competition. In order to win Uncle Dave’s money, she must spend 1 million dollars quicker and more efficiently than her cousins, posh and fancy Milly, and sports-obsessed Carl.
The trouble is, Annie Bright is….not so bright. She’s got a thing for estate sales and bargain shopping, and so spending the 1 million dollars isn’t very easy. I don’t know – if I had a million dollars to spend, I’d probably buy something better than crayons, lollipops, plastic cups, and a bobble head. Her eccentric shopping choices are part of the humorous story, which takes her to a bunch of oddball shops and flea markets across town.
To play, you need to find all of the hidden objects on the list. There’s no penalty for incorrect clicks, though if you make too many, your mouse spins around on the screen. There’s also no timer, but you are told how long it took you to beat a board at the end of each round.
If you get stuck (which you most certainly will), you can always earn extra hints. You can earn a hint bonus by finding items quickly. Earn three hint bonuses, and you get a free hint. Even easier, you can play one of four minigames to earn a full hint each time.
In the “Price Guess” mini-game, you are shown a random item, and must guess at the price. You get four tries. When you make an incorrect guess, you are told to bid higher or lower. The cash works in intervals of 5, so this isn’t too tough to beat. In the “Price Match” game, you’re shown 3 objects, and must match them to the correct price tags. Does a ferret really cost $80?
In the “Sort items” game, you are shown 4 items, and must put them in order from cheapest to most expensive. You get three guesses. It can be kind of easy. For example, it’s obvious that a wallet costs less than a chair, or a radio costs more than a rake. Some items are more challenging though.
For the “Price Builder” game, you are shown an item, and three numbers. You must select which numbers (and in which order) make up the price of the item shown. This is extremely easy, since items are always rounded by 5. You can guess that the last digit will almost always be a 0 or 5.
The story is probably the best part of the game. It’s amusing and silly and fun. You’ll see the end coming a mile away, but that doesn’t take away from the game. The music and sound effects are good, fitting with each scene and background. There’s also voice acting, which is very well done. You never repeat a single room, so each level is unique. Once you’ve beaten the game, you can replay any level you like, so the replay value is alright. The hand painted art is original, with it’s own personality.
Unfortunately, there are a lot of quirks that weaken the game. For one thing, it’s very short, taking just a bit over 2 hours to complete. For another, the generous use of hints makes it very easy to beat. It seems like there are only a dozen or so items to price in the minigames, and so it very quickly becomes repetitive and easy. Furthermore the minigames are overly predictable, following the same patterns over and over again.
The hidden objects themselves are often ridiculously hard to spot, forcing the user to rely excessively on the hints and minigames, which can get boring. Many items are too obscure. For example, when you’re asked to find an umbrella, it might be folded up so tightly that it looks like a pole. Or, a begonia plant might look like some pink dots on a black canvas. A 3D viewer is blended to match the wood table it’s on, making it look like a handle. Items are blended in, but sometimes too well. A few items were so dark I barely saw them in the shadows, even with a hint.
The character art is nice, but the main character doesn’t look consistent. Sometimes she’s blonde, other times she more brunette, and sometimes her hair is reddish. Sometimes her nose is large, and sometimes it’s small. This is a bit confusing. Some of the side characters have the same problem. Sometimes Carl is overweight and young, and other times he’s older and trimmer. Milly can be a red head, or a severe looking brunette.
Annie’s Millions is cute and easy to play, but it’s strengths don’t quite balance out it’s flaws. If you like game shows like The Price is Right, and don’t mind repetition, you might enjoy this hidden object game. If, however, you want clear objects and don’t like to use too many hints, it will probably not have much appeal.