One man's trash is another man's treasure, or so the saying goes. I come from a family of dumpster diggers and garage sale junkies (hey, you never know when you're going to find a real gem!). So, I felt right at home playing Yard Sale Hidden Treasures: Sunnyville from Slapdash Games.
In this cartoony but often surprisingly realistic hidden object adventure, you find yourself hunting for goodies in some very amusing environments. And the characters you meet . . . no, the caricatures you meet are over-the-top goofy and fun. For example, Mr. M. T. Graves looks like he runs the local morgue, and his house is full of spooky, Halloween-ish items like vampire bats, spiders, fake dismembered hands, eyeballs and other odds and ends. Oddly enough, among the creepy debris, you find a few old things you can turn into beautiful decorations for your new house, which is really your objective in the first place. Let me explain.
As Sunnyville's newest resident, you're thrown into a competition to beat out your confident (okay, arrogant), neighbor Atia in the Superstar Homes Magazine Contest. You challenge is to turn your mostly bare and plain new home into a decorator's dream house. So, when you're out searching through yard after yard, you're really trying to pick up those little diamonds-in-the-rough that, with a little tender loving care, will transform your humble abode into a lovely prize-winning residence.
Once you gather the rusted, broken down “treasures,” you bring them back to your garage from some sprucing up. You cut glass pieces and replace them in a broken lantern. You polish and spray paint old buckets to make them look spiffy and new. In short, you buy junk, fix it up, and place it in room after room to decorate your entire house.
I can't say enough about the little things in this game. The developers did a terrific job of taking care of the details, from the fun and quirky sounds to the animated scenes. Even the spray paint can mechanics feel like you're really using a paint can (I wanted to keep spraying paint all over the place just for fun). There's no music to speak of, but the environmental sounds keep you occupied enough that you don't really miss it. Overall, the graphics and sound effects are truly top notch.
But I do have a few gripes, although they are very minor. Sometimes the developers resorted to 'blending' hidden items into the background in order to make them tough to find. I found this annoying only because the hints are limited, so it was easy to get stuck for quite a while on some levels where the objects were almost unfairly difficult to locate. However, I did manage to gather some stars (which give you extra hints) and get just enough hints to squeak by on each level. My other complaint is that I would say 'career mode' is by far the most fun way to play, while the “tour mode” left me unfulfilled.
I really love the concept of this game. You will too, even if you missed the super-popular PC version of the game. The combination of “hunting for objects” and “home improvement” is a fun and a unique approach to the “seek and find” genre. Just like real-life junkyard treasures, at the rock bottom price of $.99, this version of Yard Sale Hidden Treasures: Sunnyville is a gem you'll want to add to your collection of iPhone apps.