I can’t count the number of times I’ve been disappointed by a sequel that make the same mistakes as the game that came before it in the series with no effort to improve. Or worse, a sequel that’s actually less fun than its predecessor. I’m very happy to report that Danger Next Door: Miss Teri Tale doesn’t fall into that trap. Episode three of the Miss Teri Tale series, which up to this point has been lackluster, is bursting with newfound style and creativity.
When we catch up with Teri at the beginning of the game, she’s now the mayor of Peeking Town and has made Monty deputy mayor. Unfortunately, however, Monty is found dead at a party thrown by Mike, the town’s newest resident, and Teri offers to help solve the crime.
As with past games in the series, the story requires some suspension of disbelief. (Why would a mayor be allowed to be at the crime scene collecting blood samples and dusting for fingerprints? Aren’t there detectives for that?) The voice-acting is cheesy, too. But the plot is a solid whodunit that will keep you clicking to the end to find out how it all ends.
Like a typical hidden object game, the goal is to search a cluttered scene for a specific set of objects, such as an umbrella, wristwatch, shoes and hammer. Some items are random, while others are inventory items that you have to use to solve puzzles or access other items or areas. For example, one of the early puzzles involves having to sign a poster, so you first have to find a pen, then drag the pen onto the poster to sign it.
Scenes are chock-full of items, so the seek-and-find aspect of the gameplay can be quite challenging. But the items are all for the most part somewhat thoughtfully arranged onto shelves, floors, tables and so on. In other words, if you have to find a pair of shoes it’s rare that you’ll see them stuck to the ceiling, or half way up a wall, or otherwise concealed in ways that don’t actually make sense.
If you’re stuck, you can click on the clover to reveal the location of an item. The clover recharges over about 20 seconds, so hints are unlimited. The game offers a choice of timed or relaxed mode (no timer). The list of randomized items to find will be different on each playthrough, so there’s replay value as well.
Where Danger Next Door: Miss Teri Tale really shines over its predecessors is its presentation. It’s far more stylish than the previous two games. The map screen is presented as an interactive pop-up book where you can click on bits of the scenery for fun surprises (like a fire hydrant that squirts water, or a mooing cow). Many of the searches involve going back through the characters’ memories – an artful and surreal touch that reminded us of Pure Hidden, another game by Danger Nextx Door developer Ouat Entertainment.
The music is light-hearted, and the story is told through cut-outs of real people arranged in entertaining ways. It’s purposefully "low-fi," but in a playful way that oozes fun.
The mini-games on offer are creative too, with just the right amount of challenge so as not to be either too easy or too frustrating.
If you had written the series off after the disappointing Miss Teri Tale: Vote 4 Me, give it another chance. You’ll find that Danger Next Door isn’t half bad, and the presentation is definitely something a little different from the norm.