I was feeling a bit desperate to find a varitable sorbet to cleanse my gaming palate after playing a shitty game like Safecracker on the Nintendo DS…And, I think I found it in Pop Cap’s cool hidden object puzzle game, Amazing Adventures: The Forgotten Ruins, also on the DS. This game is fun and easy, looks good and unlike Safecracker, has no port problems as it appears it was originally designed for the DS.
In terms of the Forgotten Ruins‘ story, I expected there to be some repeated clichés the minute I set eyes on the cover of the game:
Clue #1: a tiki statue
Clue #2: a Mayan temple
Clue #3: an airplane flying over some mountains
Hmm, let me guess? An Indiana Jones-type Archeologist off on a dig, searching for hidden treasure?
Ding ding ding, we have a winner!
I love to tease the tropes found in these casual games. They’re so derivative, that I often don’t bother with those stories really, yet I am attracted to these “explorers searching for some treasures” type of games (see Jewel Quest and Treasure Seekers: Visions of Gold) because of the scenery and tropical stylings of the puzzles. Give me a palm tree, a cave or a waterfall and I am all over it!
In the Forgotten Ruins, an archeologist is searching through an ancient Mayan land for artifacts. In doing so, the gamer is made to explore different areas of this land by solving one hidden object puzzle, and either match two objects, “complete the jigsaw puzzle” or “find the differences between two pics” games to complete a level. I largely ignored the story – relayed to the gamer in a small journal that is completely skippable and not crucial to the game at all. What did catch me were the puzzles – easy, familial and capable of finishing them in short order.
The puzzles are timed, but a user would be able to turn that feature off for a very casual gaming experience. Seriously though, I cannot imagine this game getting stressful on anyone; it’s so relaxed. The hidden object scenes and tools do tend to repeat themselves (it had you try to find lumberjack tools (axes) or bells in almost every scene!). That said, because of the repetative nature of the scenes and clues, this game is not suited to be completed in one sitting, but perfect for a casual gamer looking for a portable experience that can be picked up and put down on a whim (think a Mahjong, crossword or match-three type of game).
For what it’s worth, Metacritic rates the Forgotten Ruins high (75%), and funny, my copy happened to be high on the price scale too – $14.39 – higher than I normally pay for a used game, especially one released in 2006…but if it’s good and not common, then I think the price is justified. Well, this game was totally worth it and I recommend!
Amazing Adventures: The Forgotten Ruins
Developer: Black Lantern Studios / Pop Cap