Shiver Vanishing Hitchhiker

[Review] REDRUM: An Eerie Hidden Object Collection (PC)

I got a lot of boxed games…and they are begging to be played! Most are point-and-click, and most I’m sure you’ve never heard of! Here is one of them!

REDRUM: An Eerie Hidden Object Collection

REDRUM was 2011’s boxing day sales find at the local Staples. I have confirmation that Staples in Canada is getting away from selling any games in its stores. Still, today on occasion, the casual hidden object adventure gamer can find some sweet deals on boxed games. This is always a gamble because a lot of these sets contain games that are all kinds of suck.

I had never heard of the REDRUM games before. The compilation consists of two REDRUM games – Dead Diary and Time Lies – as well as two bonus, unrelated and very forgettable games, the Curse of the Witch Crow and the Flying Dutchman. REDRUM, for one, has cheesy packaging, but the price was right (around $2.50), so I took a chance on it. Besides, I was getting 4 games for the price of a mobile game, so even if three of the four sucked, I felt it was still worth it.

deaddiary1

The first game, REDRUM Dead Diary centers around Rose, a girl who has been committed under psychiatric care for hearing voices. Her loaded divorced parents bicker about Rose’s care, but it’s her uncle, a Private I, who knows something is up with her Psychiatrist, Dr. Sigmund Fraud, as he is insisting Rose get the most expensive shock therapy treatments and medications. Of course, he is over-charging the rich parents, and tries to keep Rose in his care by injecting her with green serum that makes her all kinds of high. Things are not what they seem in her world. She sees and experiences some frightening stuff that the gamer must experience as well. Sooner or later, Fraud comes under scrutiny as he cares for other disturbed patients. He is soon under arrest and locked up for good. Rose is free and no longer hears voices.

timeliestitle

In the sequel, Time Lies, Dr. Fraud is somehow given a pardon, and released from the mental institution he was being held in under sentence for the shenanigans he was into from the first game. He is up to his evil tricks as he tries to wreck havoc in lives connected to Rose. Again, with help from her uncle, Rose manages to save the Doctor’s victims from their hell, and exposes the Doctor for the evil Fraud he is. The Doctor is then thrown in jail for good.

I was pleasantly surprised by this REDRUM package! The cover of the box doesn’t evoke confidence that this is gonna be any good…but the games were quite enjoyable! A nice mix of puzzles, from hidden object, to match the mosaic tile, to virtual jigsaw puzzles… I never got bored! Backtracking was a breeze when utilizing the easy-to-follow map provided (A+! Love maps!). The gameplay was challenging, but not frustrating. If we have to pick favourites between the first and second game, the sequel, Time Lies offered more game time, but both are good games.

I didn’t think I would find an equally good and scary hidden object game to Shiver: Vanishing Hitchhiker, but I found it in the REDRUM franchise. Some scenes are indeed shocking and difficult to look at. I would not recommend this for children because of the haunting imagery. Imagine having to play through a puzzle with this staring back at you:

deaddiary5

BAH!

The soundtrack was equally jarring. Overall, this would be a great game to install for Hallowe’en. I know I am talking as though both games of the REDRUM series is one, but really, both fit comfortably together. Time Lies, the sequel game was a bit longer, and had more puzzles, but both games are worth checking out. If you spot this box anywhere, I highly recommend you pick this one up! It’s a keeper!

Now, a word on the bonus games…

The Curse of the Witch Crow was a match-three game (like Bejeweled and Candy Crush) that looked and sounded okay, if a little dated, but nothing to really write home about.

Curse of the Witch Crow

Curse of the Witch Crow

The Flying Dutchman, unfortunately refused to load properly on my PC, even adjusting the resolution to 480, and changing the Windows compatibility settings. I couldn’t get past the load screen, which looked like a dog’s breakfast.

The Flying Dutchman's load screen

The Flying Dutchman’s load screen

REDRUM: An Eerie Hidden Object Collection
Anarchy Enterprises
2011

[Review] Shiver: Vanishing Hitchhiker (PC)

I have posted this review before – one of my very first from June 2013! I have since replayed this game, adding some decent screenshots. I thought I would provide a more fullsome review of one of my favourite hidden object games ever! Enjoy!

Let me tell you about the first time a video game made me sweat in fear. I mean, of course there were others since, but this one set the bar for what would make me love the Horror Video Game genre. That game was none other than Shiver: Vanishing Hitchhiker, and in my opinion, it is one of the best horror hidden object games that currently exists.

Vanishing Hitchhiker is the first in a thrill-ogy of spooky hidden object games that also includes Shiver: Midnight Grove and Shiver: Poltergeist. But, if we are to look at all three and compare, Vanishing Hitchhiker is the strongest game overall. It was unexpected. Its graphics and gameplay were unparalleled to other Hidden Object games at the time I played it a few years ago on PC. I had played others before that tried half-heartedly to be scary by using abandoned buildings, darkened corners, and ooo look! a cobweb! But, this game was downright macabre and suspenseful, and my perspective hasn’t changed as Autumn sets in and we count down to Hallowe’en; I get a hankering to replay this game about once a year. It still looks great and sounds great, and it still manages to give me the willies.

Shiver: The Vanishing Hitchhiker takes its story from the book of urban legends. Wikipedia has quite an extensive list of how the vanishing hitchhiker trope is used in storytelling. In this particular case, a dude (played by you) is driving on a rural road during a torrential downpour and stops to pick up a hitchhiking girl who is drenched from the rain, and clutching a teddy bear. The girl asks to be driven to her town, where she is dropped off. The dude drives away, but notices the girl has left her teddy in the back seat. He turns around and drives back to town to find the girl and give back her teddy, but she has vanished. He then finds himself searching a creepy abandoned town for the girl. And so the game begins…

Now, if you decide to play the game, don’t look too much into the ridiculousness of the story. This one incorporates cemeteries, an old hospital and an island with some sort of native burial ground on it – typical fodder for hidden object games. Oddities of this story aside, Vanishing Hitchhiker is very well made and the graphics are beautifully detailed. Sure, the scenery is dark and dreary, but you can tell a lot of work went into its execution. To tie the horror element together, the scenes are juxtaposed with a gorgeous, yet haunting, soundtrack.

If you want to know what I found was the most unsettling about Vanishing Hitchhiker…it was having to explore the dark nooks and crannies of old dusty houses, barns and wells using the dim glow of a flashlight. You innocently enough check around corners with your Maglight when you peek through a keyhole and…BOO! An eyeball stares back at you…or shadows run past you.

When I first played this game, it was only available on PC. It has since been ported to mobile devices (iOS and Android), and if it is anything like others I’ve played on my tablet, I am sure it looks great. I have extolled the virtues of Shiver: Vanishing Hitchiker many times before, but I cannot emphasize enough how good of a game this is. Give it a try – you won’t be disappointed!

5/5

Shiver: Vanishing Hitchhiker
Developer: Artogon / Publisher: Big Fish Games
Released: Spring 2011

Other Shiver game reviews:

Shiver: Moonlit Grove

Shiver: Poltergeist