Gives a new meaning to the daily grind

It’s crime time! Team Lava’s Hidden Objects: Mystery Crimes puts you behind the detective badge as you solve crimes the only way you know how: by completing hidden object scenes. Sift through lists of objects, interview suspects, and send evidence to the forensics team for evidence, all without stepping foot in a single real-life dirty alleyway.

Hidden Objects: Mystery Crimes is split into two main areas of play: hidden object scenes and investigative interludes. The former are the meat and potatoes of the game, so you’ll spend a great deal of time here looking for items and admiring the luscious artwork. Between rounds you’ll talk with persons of interest and manage forensics tasks, many of which include quick mini-games to spice up the gameplay with some variety.

Hidden Objects: Mystery Crimes

Hidden object scenes are very basic, handing you a small list of items to find in a handful of cramped locations. Speed is important, as you get bonus multipliers for finding multiple objects in a row. The best tactic is to locate a couple of objects and then dart your finger around, scooping up the big points. You can also unleash bonus items like a combo booster, hint packs, and object previews, if you’ve got the gems to spare. Once you complete a stage you’re awarded points based on your performance, and then it’s back to the real detective work!

Hidden Objects: Mystery Crimes features three types of currency to work with: gems, energy bolts, and stars. Energy bolts are spent to enter crime scenes to search for clues. No energy means no item hunts, but they do refill (slowly) as time passes. Gems can be spent to hurry tasks along, such as encouraging the forensics team to analyze that vial of strange liquid. They also allow you to carry power-ups into each hidden object scene, though at a surprisingly steep cost. And finally, stars are spent to interview suspects and analyze clues, sort of like energy bolts for the investigative side of things.

Hidden Objects: Mystery Crimes

Multiple currencies are fairly standard for free-to-play games, but in the case of Hidden Objects: Mystery Crimes, there’s a serious imbalance to how they’re put to use. All three currencies are built around limiting how long you can play. This very quickly spirals into a painful scenario where you are forced to replay hidden object scenes over and over just so you can move the story along. Just hope you don’t run out of energy before that happens. The only other option is dropping a handful of real world money on packages of gems, and to be honest, the in-app purchases are priced much too high for the number of items they provide.

Despite being too eager with IAPs, Hidden Objects: Mystery Crimes pulls itself together and manages to be an entertaining experience. Item hunts are straightforward but engaging, investigations are intriguing without being too trite or wordy, and the overall package looks and feels like a winner: just the kind of winner you’ll need to play in short bursts over the course of a few weeks.