Help Emma discover her grandfather’s secrets in this average hidden object adventure.
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: A young woman inherits her family’s old, mysterious mansion. Upon entering the mansion, you find that not everything is as it seems, and mysteries are ready to be uncovered. We could describe plenty of hidden object games in that exact fashion, and with Youda Mystery: The Stanwick Legacy, it’s no different. Unfortunately, the gameplay here is a bit too unituitive, and the hidden object scenes a bit too repetitive to make this one an instant-purchase.
In Stanwick Legacy, you follow Emma, who has inherited her grandfather’s mansion. You lived here with your grandfather as a child, after you parents’ untimely deaths, but were quickly sent away to boarding school as your grandfather felt the mansion was unfit for a growing girl. Now, upon returning, you’re left with relatively limited access to the rooms within the mansion, which you quickly learn hold clues about secrets your grandfather kept from you, including those surrounding the deaths of your parents.
Gameplay-wise, you’re left with a fairly standard hidden object game (find items on a list) mixed with a few puzzles. These scenes tend to have fairly nice graphics (as does the whole game), but some object naming is confusing (or at the very least misleading) as there may be two or three bottles in a scene, but only one counts for that “Old Bottle” requirement, as an example. Additionally, items are frequently hidden too “well,” with only a sliver of the item sticking out behind another, larger object of no interest. Finally, you’ll frequently end up searching for the same sets of items across scenes, which is boring and time-consuming as one scene after another asks you to look for five Tarot cards, three Butterflies or four Dice (as examples).
You’ll replay certain scenes, but thankfully, all of the items you removed before are still gone. This of course makes subsequent trips back and forth more bearable, as at least the scenes become easier with each play. Still, the amount of backtracking here is a bit bothersome, especially considering that the game does very little to help you discover where you can go next. That is, doorways may be shown on your in-game map (which also shows you if a room has a task that needs to be completed), but unless you frequently check the map, there’s no in-game visual trigger, sparkle, etc. to show you that something is interactive (aside from a single sparkle over hidden object scenes).
Unfortunately, the hint button does nothing to help matters, and is only useful in hidden object scenes themselves (even then, it has a long recharge time). Back in the main game, the hint will simply highlight a puzzle that you’ve already discovered yourself – perhaps a chest that needs a key – but does nothing to tell you where to go to get that key.
When you finally do collect the items necessary to complete puzzles, these are standard offerings, like tile sliding or rotation puzzles. They can be skipped if you wait long enough, but if you’re a veteran of the genre, you’ll likely know exactly what’s expected of you and can make your way through with minimal extended effort.
Unfortunately, Youda Mystery: The Stanwick Legacy falls short in almost every aspect of its gameplay. The hidden object scenes are monotonous or simply too challenging, and the puzzles do little to break up the repetition of desperately searching room after room, using every item in your inventory until something “clicks.” With more intuitive gameplay, or even just better visual cues as to what can be interacted with, Stanwick Legacy’s mysteries might be worth exploring, but as it stands, the game’s problems turn this into is a try-before-you-buy experience.