Tiger Eye: Curse of the Riddle Box Review

Based on a best-selling novel, Tiger Eye: Curse of the Riddle Box the hidden object game does not disappoint.

Whether you’re a fan of hidden-object games (HOGs), point-and-click adventures or romance novels, there is something for all three types in PassionFruit Games’ Tiger Eye: Curse of the Riddle Box, the first of two downloadable computer games based on the Tiger Eye novel by best-selling author Marjorie M. Liu.

This “paranormal romance” game delivers exactly what you’d expect: a fun and fantastical adventure that stars Dela, a woman with psychic abilities, who buys a mysterious riddle box on the streets of Beijing — only to find it houses a hunky, 2,000-year old warrior, Hari, who refuses to wear a shirt (and at times, pants). Er, in human form, he essentially looks like one of those “Fabio” types on the front cover of many romance novels.

But the eye-candy designed for mouse-clicking women doesn’t mean there isn’t some serious gameplay here. Despite a few issues, you shouldn’t be disappointed with this game created by many former Nancy Drew developers (while at Her Interactive).

As told through the animated cut-scene sequences — with competent voice acting and an enjoyable orchestral score (totalling 70 minutes in length) — Tiger Eye: Curse of the Riddle Box is a HOG at its core, therefore players will be challenged to find and click well-hidden objects in a busy indoor or outdoor scene. Click incorrectly too many times and your mouse cursor will temporarily freeze, but you can also get some help by clicking on the crystal ball. As a HOG, seasoned players will like how the objects you’re hunting for are tied to the actual story or mission objective, but be forewarned many objects are very well hidden and the developers even change the color of some of them to blend into the environment.

There are also basic adventure game-like puzzles strewn throughout these locations, such as finding a key to unlock a chest, using a broom handle to knock something down or grabbing pliers to snap open a chain, and so on.

But the real fun in this game is playing the many dozens of different minigames. While not unique in concept, there is a huge variety of play styles here, including word and number games (such as anagrams), shape-based puzzles (including tangrams), pipe connecting, logic games, jigsaw puzzles, and so forth. Some games you’ll play multiple times throughout the course of the story — such as a match-3 style game and a neuron-connecting task — plus there are also timed “bonus round” games that have you quickly identify a pair or trio of identical objects among many others. Complete the main campaign and you’ll unlock the playable minigames from the game’s main menu.

Some, however, will be glued to the screen to see what happens next in the story, as there are those out to get Dela, and a romance of course brews between Dela and the immortal Hari. According to PassionFruit Games, Liu wrote the game’s script and was involved in the character art and voice actor selection.

As fun the game is, however, there are some issues besides hard-to-find objects and some (but not all) minigames you can’t skip. The biggest one is the game’s objects are always in the same place each time, which hurts its overall replayability. Many other HOGs randomize where the objects are each time or they’ll change up which objects to look for. But for a $7, there is still quite a bit of gameplay here.

Shortcomings notwithstanding, Tiger Eye: Curse of the Riddle Box is a very good HOG with plenty of minigames, an enjoyable story and high production values, including impressive artwork and music. It might not be for everyone (read: men), but considering most video games are designed for guys, a female-focused game is a welcomed change.

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