Save shipwrecked souls while also saving yourself on an island of ghosts, danger and mystery.
In the Treasures of Mystery Island: The Ghost Ship, you’ll play as a reporter, sent to a seemingly deserted tropical island to discover the truth behind stories of ghosts, deaths, and a ship lost at sea. Upon arriving, you discover your guide/friend is missing, giving this intriguing game all the more depth. Can you track down your friend, and uncover the secrets surrounding this mysterious island before another tragedy can strike?
Sixty years ago, a giant cruise ship named the Queen Margaret was lost after being struck by a rogue wave, sending its crew and passengers to a watery grave. The ship is forever tied to a nearby island, where a magical shaman works black magic to summon another wave that will leave this island with the same fate. Ghosts from the Queen Margaret appear out of thin air to warn you of what’s coming, and you’ll be on a loose timer to track down the shaman before the eclipse, and the giant wave, strike.
While the Treasures of Mystery Island: The Ghost Ship has a terrific story, this fractured-object game leaves most of the story to be discovered on your own, via the many newspaper articles, notes, journal entries, and other seemingly random pieces of paper scattered around the island. If you don’t click on them, you won’t find them, and you’ll likely miss out on some of the depth the game has to offer.
When you’re not searching for parts of the story, you’ll spend the vast majority of your time collecting the pieces to dozens of broken objects, ranging from tools and oil lanterns to butterfly collections, golden plates, and musical instruments.
As you repair these broken items, you’ll be able to use them elsewhere in the environment, which brings a bit too much backtracking to the game. However, this is easily looked past when you reach the great flow that is achieved when everything in your current environment “clicks,” and you know exactly what needs to be done next.
While you won’t interact with any traditional hidden object scenes or even see any lists of items you’ll need to find, you will run into a few puzzles along the way, which slows things down a bit. These puzzles come in the form of tile sliding puzzles, escape puzzles (reorganize items to create a path to remove the key item), and so on. There’s nothing truly extraordinary here, but there doesn’t need to be.
While each individual element of Treasures of Mystery Island: The Ghost Ship can be seen elsewhere, right down to the ghost-saving element (which sees you placing wooden dolls representing ghosts into a model of the Queen Margaret, and harkens back to another Alawar title Stray Souls: A Dollhouse Story), each of the game’s features comes together to form a highly enjoyable, lengthy package that can easily last you in the neighborhood of 3-4 hours, depending on your use of hints or puzzle skips.
There are bonus items to discover in almost every scene, and the variety of items you’ll need to repair is great enough to keep the experience fresh, even through an arguably repetitive gameplay setup. All told, The Treasures of Mystery Island: The Ghost Ship is easily one of Alawar’s best games to date, and definitely deserves a recommendation.