Eden’s Quest: The Hunt for Akua Review

With a name like Eden Hunt, you just know that the main character of Eden’s Quest: The Hunt For Akua is up for some adventuring. But it turns out she’s also quit the puzzle master. Because while Eden’s Quest may look and feel a lot like a classic adventure game, it’s all mostly window dressing for the massive collection of puzzles that the game throws at you.

After getting a mysterious invite to a treasure hunt, Eden, already a famed adventurer (if the magazines spread all over her desk are to be believed) sets out to a tropical island in search of the $10 million prize. Except when she arrives things aren’t quite as simple as they first seemed. Not only does she have to complete a series of challenges in order to claim the prize, but it also turns out she’s not the only one searching for it. Over the course of the game she’ll come across several other would be treasure hunters, some of whom don’t exactly like to play by the rules. The story is fun and entertaining, though not particularly engaging.

 The Hunt for Akua

But you won’t be spending too much time wrapped up in the story of the game, instead the majority of your time will be spent solving puzzles. Lots and lots of puzzles. The challenges that Eden has to complete take the form of various totems that pop up all over the island and each of these totems will present you with a puzzle to solve. There’s a pretty large variety to these puzzles, as they run the gamut from math problems and mazes to memory and word based puzzles. Solving a specified number of puzzles will give you access to a new area of the island to explore and there are also a couple of hidden object areas to solve as well, which all consist of finding torn up bits of paper and then putting them back together.

Some of the problems are fairly simple, while others can be downright frustrating. Thankfully, the game features a hint system to help you if you’re stuck. Each puzzle has three hints, each of which costs a certain number of coins. But since the coins are scattered fairly liberally across the island, unless you’re using them on every single problem, chances are you won’t be running out. Each challenge is also worth a certain number of points and each time you submit a wrong answer this number goes down. The points are used to determine whether or not you can move on to a new area, so if you give too many wrong answers you may have to complete a make-up challenge. The whole set-up is very similar to the Nintendo DS’ Professor Layton series, so if you’ve ever played those games Eden’s Quest will feel very familiar.

Frustratingly though, several of the puzzles don’t provide enough direction, or will feature confusing or unclear instructions, making it difficult to tell what exactly you’re supposed to do. These are pretty rare, but they really stand out as very annoying, since you’ll likely to be stuck on them much longer than you should’ve been. The game also doesn’t tell you why an answer was correct, so if you happened to guess right, you’ll never know what it is you did correctly.

 The Hunt for Akua
Where the game does differentiate itself though, is with its absolutely gorgeous visuals. Eden’s Quest sports a colorful and detailed graphical style that looks almost hand-drawn and gives the game the appearance of a really high-quality graphic novel. And while the backgrounds are gorgeous, the real highlight visually is the character portraits. Each of the characters looks great, even when the game zooms in. Eden herself is quite iconic, with her bright, inquisitive green eyes and flowing red hair. The visuals actually do a great job of making the characters feel more real, something the story doesn’t do near enough of.

Unfortunately, a side effect of the wonderful production values seems to be the occasional performance issue. Clicking through dialog is a slow and tedious affair and the game will often freeze or stutter when changing scenes. This is especially surprising considering the game features very little animation.
Overall there are over 80 puzzles to solve and the whole experience will probably take between four and five hours to complete. You can also replay puzzles, but, once you’ve figured out the answers, there’s not really much incentive to solve them again. But there’s a great variety to the puzzles that are thrown at you over the course of the game and, despite the occasional frustration, Eden’s Questis both fun and beautiful. It evens ends on a bit of a cliffhanger, which suggests we haven’t seen the last of Ms. Eden Hunt.

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