A globetrotting adventure with great art and an intriguing story.
What starts out as an innocent trip to Paris quickly turns into a fast paced, crime solving adventure in Grace’s Quest: To Catch An Art Thief, a new hidden object game from Alawar Entertainment. Filled with kidnappings, stolen works of art, and plenty of crime scene investigation, the game manages to weave an interesting story and wraps it up in some solid gameplay and absolutely gorgeous art.
Grace’s Quest starts off when the titular lead character sets off to Paris to spend some time with her friend and former art school classmate Chloe. Being artists, the two decide to take a trip to the Louvre. Unfortunately, it’s a case of wrong place at the wrong time, as a pair of art thieves manage to break in to the museum, steal none other than the Mona Lisa, and kidnap Chloe. Joining forces with an Interpol agent, Grace sets off on an adventure to rescue her friend and recover the stolen art, travelling to famous museums and galleries all over Europe, from London and Paris to Madrid and Moscow. Though it’s somewhat predictable, the story is well written with some believable yet quirky characters and even a bit of humor.
Most of your time with the game will be spent searching numerous crime scenes, which lends itself quite well to a hidden object game. The game gives you a list of objects and you’ll need to find every one before you can move on to the next scene. Some of the items you’ll find will be used to solve puzzles, while the rest consist of a random assortment of stuff littered throughout the environment. The game also has the strange habit of constantly adding new objects to find just when you think you’re done, which can get annoying.
The hidden object sections are solid but don’t do much that you haven’t seen in a HOG before. One somewhat unique feature is the ability to see a silhouette of the object your searching for, which can be done by simply rolling your mouse over the name of the object. This is incredibly helpful, especially in some of the busier scenes. There’s also the prerequisite recharging hint system in case you get stuck on any particular item.
There’s much more to the game than just finding objects, though. Every single scene in Grace’s Quest features at least one mini-game or puzzle, and in some cases there are several. There’s a good amount of variety to these, as you’ll be tasked with doing everything from finishing a painting to making a cup of tea. In keeping with the theme of the game, a lot of the mini-games have to do with actually investigating the crime scenes. You’ll be scouring objects for fingerprints, using an x-ray machine to search through bags, and much more. A few times throughout the game you’ll even get to take control of Chloe as she tries to escape her captors.
Overall, aside from a few very simplistic puzzles, the frequent mini-games are a wonderful addition to the game that really help add some much needed variety. And, as with most games in the genre, they’re completely skippable if you wait long enough.
While Grace’s Quest both plays great and has an interesting story to follow, it’s most redeeming feature might actually be the way it looks. The game features a wonderful art style that features a combination of great character designs and detailed, colorful backdrops. You’ll even get treated to the occasional animated cut scene, which further enhances the game’s cartoon visual style.
With a great story, solid gameplay, and good looks to boot, Grace’s Quest is a triple threat. It may be a little on the short side, and some of the mini-games are a little too simple to be fun, but overall it’s a great experience that should satisfy any hidden object fan.