[Review] Escape the Emerald Star (PC)

Escape the Emerald Star is the real McCoy of hidden object games in proper terms. No hidden agendas, no tomfoolery. Just a good ol’ hidden object game.

The guests and crew of the ship, the Emerald Star, have all disappeared! It is your task to investigate each room on the ship, obtain clues and find out what happened.

The good: Solid hidden object game. Looks good, no glitches, and has longevity.

The bad: None really. The timed searches and keeping score may annoy some.

Each scene (of about 10 that are reused) gives you approximately 16 items to search for. You have a limited amount of time to search, and normally time limits on HOGs irritate me to no end, but this game gives you plenty of time to search. Pretty much, you have time to do a Timmies run, eat lunch and take a quick cat nap before the clock runs out. Each scene gives you a different time limit, too, depending on its difficulty. With the timed gameplay, there is also a score. Each item you find gives you points. Obtaining high points unlocks achievements. If you find items quickly, you are given even more points. Along with obtaining pieces of a map, you are rewarded with playing some mini games at the end of a level; Mahjong and a Bejeweled Blitz type game are a couple that you get to play.

You do get penalized in subtraction of points for hitting the hint button, and for aimlessly poking around and guessing. You do search the same scenes several times, but the clues do change. Objects to search ARE repeated occasionally, for example, you look for a Pan flute several times throughout the game, but in a definite plus, these objects change location so you don’t feel like you are playing a memory game (which is a terrible fate many HOGs suffer from). The graphics are visually appealing. The music and ambient noise are well done as well, and really make you feel unsettled in your environment.  

My only critique of Escape the Emerald Star (if I need to gripe about anything to do with this game…) is that I wish they had animated the hidden object scenes. I mean, if I’m staring at water, it would have been nice to see it ripple. But, really, that’s just complaining for the sake of it.

If you dig hidden object games, I would definitely recommend Escape the Emerald Star to your mother, your friends, and to you!

Escape the Emerald Star
Publisher: SpinTop Media
Released: 2011

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