[Review] 9 Clues: The Secret of Serpent Creek (PC)

The year is 1953. Journalist, Helen Hunter, reporting on the town of Serpent Creek’s yearly festival, noticed something amiss with the townfolk. For one thing, they seem to be moving around in a catatonic state. She discovers there may be a link between their behaviour and that Black Mambi drink the festival keeps pushing on the festival-goers. Funny thing though, the creepy mayor and the sheriff don’t seem affected. Helen, your best friend, almost gets to the bottom of this weirdness. But, she smells corruption, and knows she is being trailed. She fears for her safety. While on the phone with you to convey her fears and share this odd story, she is stolen away to parts unknown.

Determined to find her, you take to this snake-bitten town, looking for Helen in the hopes of finding her alive. Little does the town know, you are a sleuth with a nose for the truth; these corrupt enforcers who took Helen don’t know what hit ’em! And while you search for Helen, you discover a whole bunch of snake oil with this mayor. There is more than just a creepy air to him, but sooner or later, he “sheds his skin” to reveal his true self.

9 Clues: the Secret of Serpent Creek was sitting in my Steam Library since 2014, and it was high time I got to my neglected list of games already! A hidden object adventure game by Tap It Games, it was a short but sweet journey of under 4 hours. Now, it isn’t a very difficult game at all…the hidden object scenes are not challenging, the puzzles are simple to figure out…but, sometimes, you don’t need a big challenge to enjoy a game. 9 Clues arrived at a good time following my confused experience playing the last game, Insane Cold: Back to the Ice Age. This game had an interesting story with a linear sensibility that curbed confusion. In fact, I didn’t hit the Hint button once playing this game.

The graphics in 9 Clues were superb, giving the atmosphere an eerie dark vibe. Although the puzzles were the usual HOG fare (fix the pipe, untangle the cord, make all the lights green…) I didn’t seem to mind the repetition here, perhaps because the game had elements not often seen in casual games that added some enjoyment. How about a map where I can click on geographic areas and teleport to that area instantly – 9 Clues had it. Or achievements? Casual gamers like achievements too!  9 Clues had that! The achievements for what it’s worth are attainable (for example, solve the game without hitting the Hint button, and you get one). About the only negative comment I have for this game is the sound-acting; which was a little wooden, but at least it wasn’t used in every scene.

Ultimately, 9 Clues: the Secret of Serpent Creek is a simple but mighty hidden object game  that is worth your time. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and highly recommend it! I only wish I didn’t wait so long to play it!

4.5/5

9 Clues: the Secret of Serpent Creek
Tap It Games / Artifex Mundi
2013

 

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