[Review] Season of Mystery: The Cherry Blossom Murders (PC) – Good Story, Redundant Gaming

Late 19th century Japan – full of mystery to the Western world. Exotic, beautiful, and in some cases, deadly. Americans, Richard and Irene Pemberton, had just moved to Tokyo where Richard had just begun his assignment working for the American Embassy. One day, his wife finds him hanging in his study and the police automatically settle on suicide as his cause of death. His death causes controversy and suspicion leading to the destruction of Richard’s decent reputation. His wife, on the other hand, suspects that Richard was murdered and sets off on a journey to clear his name. She goes around Tokyo searching for clues and recruits the local police, all in an effort to find those responsible. This is the plot of Season of Mystery: The Cherry Blossom Murders, a hidden object game I completed on PC this week.

First, kudos on a unique story. There was no “missing person” or “ghosts” or “spirits from the crypt” here. It was a journey through Tokyo in spring, and the scenes were pretty. If this game were based on its story and scenery alone, it would make the grade.

However, this game suffers from extreme laziness in the hidden object aspect. Each scene you are made to search repeats several times over the course of the game, which in itself is not a crime. But, try searching for the EXACT SAME items in each scene. Yes, people, if I have to search for that crowbar in the embassy gate one more freaking time…The puzzles turned out to be more of a memory game than hidden object, which meant I breezed through the game in a little under 2.5 hours. And for a game with 20 + chapters, it speaks volumes! Having played several story-type games on different systems, I wonder if this game would have been better suited for the Nintendo DS system in a Room 215: Hotel Dusk sort of way. I doubt we will ever find out.

All this to say, I would not be spending big scratch on The Cherry Blosson Murders at all (I paid $2 in the Steam Sale). There is still some value in the unique storytelling. Just know the hidden object scenes repeat throughout.

Season of Mystery: The Cherry Blossom Murders
Publisher: Square Enix
Released: 2009

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