The setting is London, England in the fifth installment of SpinTop’s Mystery P.I. hidden object series. Mystery P.I.: The London Caper will have you running all over the city in an attempt to find the priceless stolen Crown Jewels of the Royal Family. Time is of the essence: you have a mere 17 hours to locate the precious gems before they’re lost and gone forever.
Under threat of the Crown Jewels being destroyed if the Royal Family fails to pay the stones’ ransom within 17 hours, it’s your job as the summoned Private Investigator to find the jewels and ensure their safe return. If successful, a handsome £10 Million will be yours to spend as you please.
Mystery P.I.: The London Caper is extremely similar to the previous title, Lost in Los Angeles. In fact, if it wasn’t for the slight difference in goal and location, it would practically be an exact reflection. Objects are hidden well, yet not always too difficult to find. The game features 25 levels with 25 unique areas that repeat. In addition to randomized objects on your list, three unique items are hidden in each area: a crown, a key, and a pair of handcuffs. Successfully collect all 25 crowns and keys to unlock additional game modes, and if you find all 25 pairs of handcuffs, you’ll be rewarded with a score boost of +1 million.
Bonus game modes include Unlimited Seek and Find: an in-game extra which allows you to try and locate over 2,000 hidden objects, as well as Match-3 Bonus Game: an option which allows you to replay the Match-3 portions of the game over again.
Actual gameplay can vary widely. By default, the game will be timed and you’ll have to wait a set period of time before hints renew. Using a hint will result in a minor score deduction, as well as if you click around too sporadically. Score can be raised by finding objects, and a score multiplier bonus is available for timed mode if you find objects in chains. The timed mode is challenging, and will prove itself worthy among veterans of the series. Yet, not all is lost if you don’t complete the game within the allotted amount of time: the game can painlessly be switched from timed to relaxed mode in the options menu with no consequences at any time, except perhaps the loss of the score multiplier. Unlimited hints can also be accessed from the options menu.
The linear style of gameplay will prove itself familiar and friendly to most, as The London Caper retains all the good things about its predecessor. An elaborate scoring system can be viewed at any time by clicking the “help” button for more information, and upon completing each level, you’ll be given a mini-game puzzle to solve. The puzzles range from Match-3 to Jigsaws, but none are very difficult.
That being said, unfortunately The London Caper also inherits all of the previous title’s negative traits. Scenes and objects will become quite repetitive throughout the course of the game, resulting in a much quicker and easier ending than beginning. In addition, the storyline is once again seemingly completely detached from the game itself, with the only references to it at the very beginning and very end of the game. It lacks any form of development, and really acts as more of a game description than a story. Furthermore, The London Caper also inherited an unfortunate quality in that its item names and descriptions are not always accurate (i.e. a “funnel” is called a “cone”, or a “chisel” called a “knife”).
The conclusion? Nothing really changed in this title except the location and the goal. It’s still a good game, but not a great game. If you loved the previous titles, you’re in for a stroke of luck due to the almost clone-like nature of this game. But, if you’re looking for something new in the series, chances are you won’t find it here.