Treasure Seekers: The Enchanted Canvases Review

Treasure Seekers 2: The Enchanted Canvases from Artogon is a thoroughly enjoyable Hidden Object/Adventure game that shows that at least in casual gaming, sequels often improve on the original. Beautiful graphics, well-balanced gameplay, and puzzles that are engaging without being too hard combine for a game that’s sure to be an instant hit.

The young children from the first Treasure Seekers are now young adults. Tom, the brother, has gotten trapped in a mysterious castle in Hungary, and it’s up to his sister, Nelly, to find him. She does so by working her way through six magical paintings, each a separate story for which she has to provide the happy ending.  

The gameplay is simple but satisfying. In her travels, Nelly has to solve many small “tasks,” whether it’s repairing a bridge or finding a magical medallion. To do so, she has to gather objects or parts of objects, like finding an axe to cut down a tree to make wood for repairs. All of the objects are the right size and color and appropriate to the scene.  

As in other Artogon games, like The Mystery of the Crystal Portal, you first find a “key object,” like a mysterious statue. Click on it, and five or six small circles appear showing black and white sketches of the other items you must find to be able to use the key object.  This keeps your object searches focused without giving too much away.

Inside each painting, Nelly has to go back and forth between three or four locations as she gathers objects and solves mini-game puzzles. For example, she might find a locked chest in one location, than have to go back to another to get the tools to open it. The in-game hint system will usually give you enough clues to find what you need without too much frustration.

Graphics are excellent; highly detailed with lots of interesting things to see and hear. There is a small amount of animation in most scenes that adds to the interest. Artwork is highly atmospheric without being too intense. The game would be fine for most families to play together if you’re comfortable with pirates, vampires, and the occasional friendly ghost.

Some of the mini-games are pretty hard, but you do get to skip them if you want. They had good variety and made a nice break. Some can only be solved with trial and error, and none require fast reflexes. They varied from matching pairs to tangrams to various kinds of sequence puzzles. I enjoyed all of them, but if you don’t like one, you can always skip it.

The game offers two modes: Casual and Advanced. The main difference is that in Casual the hint meter recharges much more quickly. Casual also outlines some objects in sparkles if you’re taking a long time to find things.

The inventory puzzles do get harder as the game goes along, so you may want to consult a walkthrough for Paintings 5 and 6 if you get stuck.

I liked this game much better than the original.  Making each painting its own story was a great way to add variety without making the plot too complex.  Using older characters also improved the storyline. The gameplay was smoother and the puzzles more interesting.

I did have two complaints. First, like the original, a few items are too dark. I guess that’s the price you pay for sticking with realistic objects. Most scenes are fine, but you may have to use a few more hints than you’d expect.  

Second, if you skip the mini-games or use the hints too quickly, the game will feel a little short. It’s not a major issue, and if you make yourself work through the full challenges it should last around six hours. But if you do use the skips, you may find you’ve finished in about three.  

Of course, if the biggest problem in a game is that you’re sorry it ended so soon, it’s almost certain to be a hit! Treasure Seekers 2: The Enchanted Canvases doesn’t offer anything new or startling, but it’s a fun, well-designed game that most players will enjoy.

The game is currently available through the Big Fish Games “World Premiere Exclusives” program, but should be available to non-members later in the future.

If you liked this game, try: The Mystery of the Crystal Portal, Dream Chronicles, Magic Encyclopedia: First Story, and Treasure Seekers: Visions of Gold.

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