Shadow Wolf Mysteries: Cursed Wedding
Most brides worry about drunken wedding crashers, people running late, or not having enough food. In Shadow Wolf Mysteries: Cursed Wedding, Veronica worries about a werewolf killing her before her wedding. This tough job of keeping Veronica alive, hunting down the big bad werewolf and ultimately saving the joyous occasion can only be accomplished by a detective of sharp wit and steel nerves. Yes, this means you.
You are a detective in Paris, contacted by Veronica to save her wedding. Upon arriving at the mansion, you’re greeted by a gate battered with claw marks. Things don’t look so good. The situation is this: The ancient werewolf Mephistus has shown itself days before Veronica’s wedding and it seems to seek revenge against Veronica and her family.
This is the mystery that shrouds the game. Who is Mephistus? And more importantly, how are you going to kill it?
Shadow Wolf Mysteries: Cursed Wedding is a nice balance of hidden object and puzzle games. You won’t find yourself doing the exact same thing twice in a row. But on the other hand, it’s also a run-of-the-mill fetch game. You go to a person to acquire something and the person asks you to go on an errand before he gives you the thing you need. This fetch-centric mechanic is prevalent with almost all games with quests, so it’s no longer a surprise that you find yourself trying to acquire a bag of peanuts while your original mission is to kill a werewolf.
However, the things that you’re required to do provide little quirks that keep the tasks fresh. For example, you will be tasked to arrange a bouquet and bake a batch of fortune cookies for an acrobat — How you find time to bake fortune cookies while investigating a case is probably why you’re such a sought-after detective. The puzzles vary greatly from tile-sliding to memorization to pattern matching.
The characters in Shadow Wolf Mysteries: Cursed Wedding are surprisingly fleshed out. From the slimy scrupulous jeweler to the va-va-voom dancer in the club, you get the feeling that you know these people, even if you’ve never seen them before. What the characters lack in facial expression, they make up for with well-delivered dialogue. Too bad the interactions with them are very limited.
There are three game modes: Casual, Advanced and Hard. The difference is that the hint recharge timer refills slower as you increase the difficulty. Casual mode also provides a bonus of hinting on areas that you need to investigate. This makes things easier since you need to backtrack a bit in this game.
Speaking of making things easier, the game also provides a strategy guide in the form of an in-game walkthrough that holds your hand through every mini-game and hidden object segment in the game. This is a severely tempting button on the lower left of the screen that makes you think twice about just trying harder. It has its uses of course — it’s very easy to miss out on an important event, and things can get frustrating pretty fast — but it’s generally encouraged for you to finish the game without the strategy guide.
Much of what you do in this game can be done intuitively, which is always a good thing. When presented with a puzzle, the game does not automatically open up a how-to box and instead lets you experiment with the interface first. This is great because you get to explore and learn things by yourself, and you end up feeling good about figuring out the puzzles on your own. If you’re truly, hopelessly stumped, you can always read through the instruction box.
Doing all your fetch errands to prep yourself for the final scene will easily take up four to five hours of your time. The hints and the strategy guide help a lot, but if you plan on finishing the game without consulting both, it will play out slower for you. Time flies fast though, courtesy of the haunting music, superb environments, and the bubbly characters keeping you entertained along the way.
Shadow Wolf Mysteries: Cursed Wedding starts off strong in the story department but feels a bit rushed in the end. It’s important to keep the player guessing in a story-driven game, and the amount of fetch quests keep you well out of the mystery – so much so that when the great reveal comes in the end, you’re too exhausted to care. If the fetch-me tasks insinuated more things about the characters than just a purely “give me this so I give you that” relationship, it would have kept you hungry for hours on end to find out the truth. Keep your eyes peeled on the final moments of the cutscene, though. Watch.