Surface: Reel Life Review – Dangerous Documentary

The Good

Excellent puzzle design with logical solutions.

Hidden object scenes incorporate items from the main game.

Nice plot with a bit of an unusual twist.

The Bad

Mid-quality cut scenes with mediocre voice acting.

Don’t you hate it when the movie you’re watching leaps out of the screen and starts attacking you? You and your mom are watching a romping jungle adventure by the famous Nicolas Skipframe when suddenly things get a little too close for comfort. One thing leads to another and suddenly tigers are running through the aisles and a menacing jungle plant has taken over the theater. You find yourself pulled into the drama, unable to escape without getting to the bottom of this “reel life” catastrophe.

Surface: Reel Life is a hidden object adventure set in a mostly modern day world sprinkled with a hint of magic. The game features a balance of puzzle solving and unique mini-games with a double dose of hidden object scenes, all of which are perfectly tuned to give you the challenge you crave without stumping you for hours on end.


Most of the puzzles in Reel Life take place in a confined area, allowing you plenty of time to acclimate yourself to the nuances of each room. Move back and forth as you zoom in on different parts of the screens looking for stuck drawers, hidden keyholes, and the like. Puzzle solutions are forgivingly straightforward. When you find a coin, you’ll already know where to use it, no guesswork required. You’d think that would make Surface less challenging, but the game still manages to throw some surprises at you from time to time.

Hidden object scenes are a common occurrence in Surface: Reel Life. Expect a text list of items at the bottom with one or two interactive object thrown in the mix, nothing too out of the ordinary. One key difference is you have access to your adventure inventory during hidden object scenes. Know what that means? More puzzles to solve! Whenever you get something in the main game that makes absolutely no sense, you’re probably going to need it to complete a hidden object scene.


Most of what makes Reel Life stand out is the attention to detail. Small things like letting you click keys to turn them, puzzles that fit logically together, the look on a monkey’s face when you frighten him, and a hint button that warps you to the right location all add up to something greater than the individual parts. What it lacks in originality, Surface more than makes up for in raw entertainment value. And some of those mini-games are just pure perfection!

Surface: Reel Life sticks to the basics in terms of puzzle design and gameplay, but it does everything so well it’s hard not to have a good time. The story is a pleasant mixture of off-the-wall oddities and stock genre events, once again providing a balance of comfort and the unexpected. When you’re looking for something that’s just wild enough to be different, give Surface: Reel Life a call.

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