Weird Park: Broken Tune is definitely weird…
With Weird Park: Broken Tune, you have a game that plays it safe in terms of gameplay complexity / difficulty, with nice graphics and an interesting setup that unfortunately don’t reach their full potential. However, if there’s one thing that can be said without a doubt, it’s that this one’s named appropriately, as Weird Park is definitely that: weird.
Weird Park places you in the role of a detective, out to find a man named John who has gone missing inside a long-abandoned theme park. The amusement park has a dark past and an equally depressing, dirty appearance, all surrounding a clown who died while on the trapeze of the park’s circus attraction. You’ll be followed throughout your adventure by both a tiny joker, that seems to want to stop your progress, and haunted by the ghost of the clown, whose intentions aren’t initially known.
The gameplay is incredibly straightforward, but is perhaps too easy for those veterans to the genre looking for a challenge. You’ll travel throughout a variety of scenes in the theme park, completing both standard hidden object scenes (find items on a list) and fragmented object scenes, with each bringing fairly crisp graphics and little difficulty to the table. The biggest problem with these scenes is the simple fact that you’ll repeatedly play so many of them. You’ll forever be required to backtrack from your current position, sometimes to the very beginning areas of the game to retrieve certain items (now that you’ve gathered the tools to interact with them) or re-do scenes you might have thought you had long since completed.
These scenes come with another issue, in addition to the fact that items remain in the same locations on subsequent play-throughs. Here, the items that you’ve removed previously reappear as well, even if they were the key item from that scene. For instance, you may remove a Gear or a Balloon from a scene, travel throughout the theme park and then use that item somewhere else, only to find it back in the hidden object scene the next time you complete it. It’s a minor complaint, but it screams of laziness, or (at the very least) disappointing oversight.
With the amount of backtracking present here, it can be easy to get lost. Even though you’ll spend enough time in each area to quickly learn your way around, there are times when you are searching only for the next hidden object scene to complete, but have no idea where it is (as though they are activated at random).
Using the hint system is a double-edged sword, as the hints frequently ignore you entirely. You might click on the hint button (which automatically recharges) only to hear the hint tune, rather than actually see a visual cue on the screen (normally green music notes) for where to go. When this happens in hidden object scenes, you’re then left to wait for the hint button to recharge yet again, only to hope that it actually works the next time you click it, or that you can finally find your missing item in the meantime.
As for the game’s puzzles, you’re left with fairly simple challenges, like tile sliding puzzles or object association games (click on items that relate to one another, all within the carnival / fantasy theme). There are issues here too however, as certain puzzles seem to complete too early, without all of the steps actually being completed. Whether this was a bug or another design oversight isn’t exactly clear, but I found myself completing more than one puzzle (entering in safe or locker combinations, playing a Sudoku-inspired tile game, etc.) where I would finish three-fourths of the puzzle correctly, and it would suddenly move on as though I had finished entirely, even though some aspects were still incorrect.
When Weird Park: Broken Tune works correctly, you have a fairly relaxing journey into a nicely themed world and creepy storyline (no matter how shallow that storyline might be). When it’s at its worst though, you have a buggy experience that’s better left ignored until these issues can hopefully be resolved.