Mystery Trackers 2: Raincliff is an excellent hidden object adventure in all respects
Welcome to Raincliff, a town that has been abandoned for ten years after a series of supernatural occurrences. Recently, a group of university students and their bus driver went missing while investigating the town and the Mystery Trackers have sent you to find them and solve the mysteries surrounding Raincliff.
Mystery Trackers: Raincliff is the second entry in the Mystery Trackers series and it is an impressive game. Be prepared to spend a long time in Raincliff, because this may be one of the longest games to have been released in some time. When the game opens, you only have access to a small number of areas, but as you progress more and more of the town will open up, and there are numerous places to visit and explore along the way.
The town of Raincliff has been abandoned for some time, or so it seems. You quickly discover you are not alone, and that there are at least two mysterious phantoms trying to prevent you from discovering the secrets of the town and from rescuing the missing students. You are made aware of the fact that you are not welcome in Raincliff immediately when you enter the café and are attacked by flying plates and cutlery. This will certainly not be your last encounter with the unexplainable.
Mystery Trackers: Raincliff is more of a puzzle game with hidden object scenes on the side. While there are numerous hidden object scenes in the game, they are spaced far apart and you never search the same scene twice. However, you will be solving puzzles at every turn. I don’t think I’ve ever run across so many locks in a game before. In fact, this is the first time I’ve had to find a key to unlock an earring that is attached to someone’s ear. Many of the puzzles you need to solve are missing pieces that you need to locate before you can solve the puzzle, and those pieces are likely in the spot furthest away from where you are, so I hope you brought your running shoes on this adventure.
The atmosphere created in the game is excellent. The graphics are clear and the effects like snow falling really enhance the scenery. The music in the game is excellent and helps to keep you on the edge of your seat when the story gets more intense. The only thing missing is any voice acting, but with the size of the game (the Collector’s Edition is just under 1GB) this is understandable. Most of the characters you run across are unconscious anyways so this doesn’t make a huge difference in the long run.
There are three modes of play in Mystery Trackers: Raincliff. Casual Mode has sparkles for all the important areas in the game and the hint button charges quickly. Advanced Mode has no sparkles and a longer charge time. The last mode, hard, is for experienced adventurers. You will have no hints, no ability to skip puzzles and all sparkles are removed. This makes the game appealing to all levels of players.
While Mystery Trackers: Raincliff succeeds in many respects it is not without flaws. The game could have benefitted from a map system. By the middle of the game you have access to numerous locations and you will be traipsing back and forth through numerous scenes, sometimes repeatedly. If you don’t know exactly where you need to go this can become a problem. Luckily the hint system is excellent and will tell you exactly where to go.
There are also several frustrating inventory puzzles in the game. You collect a lot of items during the game and many of these items could solve your problems but, of course, only one item is the right item. At one point you need to find an object to pry up a crowbar…an object that acts just like a crowbar. Also, why can you character not pick up items that are in a puddle, instead requiring a fishing pole to grab them? These frustrations are minor though and do not detract from the overall experience.
The Collector’s Edition offers numerous extras; including a bonus chapter that adds a twist to the game while tying up some lose ends. There are also achievements you can collect in various ways, such as finding all the hidden objects without using a hint, or finding more than 50 of the 60 frogs that are hidden throughout the game. All in all, Mystery Trackers: Raincliff is an excellent game, and more than worth the price.