[Review] Penny Dreadfuls: Sweeney Todd (PC)

In my last gaming review, I looked at Mystery Legends: Sleepy Hollow, a game whose legend was a bit obscure for me. In this review, I am even less familiar with Sweeney Todd, the story of a serial killer barber who kills his victims and gives the local baker the bodies to make meat pies from (wow, Jeffrey Dahmer much?). Okay, I didn’t completely miss the boat on Sweeney Todd – I tried watching the Johnny Depp film and got through a whole 20 minutes of that shit. Luckily, the game turned out a lot better.

First, let’s speak of the title because it’s just asking for critique: Penny Dreadfuls. When I first saw that title, I thought it referred to a character’s name in the story, or else this was going to be a pretty damn good omen. Actually, the term refers to cheap pulp fiction rags sold for a penny in Victorian times. Often the stories were salacious or scary and attracted mostly a teenage audience. You can thank wikipedia for the history lesson…

The Good: Great visuals, easy gameplay, wild story.

The bad: Sweeney Todd with a razor…and apparently, jazz hands!

The Sweeney Todd game is a bona fide hidden object game that changes venue several times, which keeps the game interesting. There is a map that allows one to click on a locale to go to that locale. The game is gorgeous and atmospheric. The hidden object scenes themselves are quite easy. Along the way, you collect items that will allow you to solve a puzzle. The chapters are timed, and reveal how many times you hit the hint button or skipped a puzzle, and would grade your performance accordingly. Your “report card” comes at the end of each chapter.

One cheesy thing: at the beginning of each chapter, there is a cut scene with very bad singing. I don’t know if it was taking segments from Sweeney Todd, the Broadway Musical…but if I were to take Broadway as the canon, this version of Sweeney Todd would not even come close to off-Broadway six times removed’s back alley hobos sitting around the trash fire singing over a 24 of beer. Whew, the singing was awful!

Show tunes aside, the Sweeney Todd game was quite enjoyable as far as hidden object games go.

Penny Dreadfuls: Sweeney Todd
Developer: Play Pond
Released: 2011

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