Voodoo Whisperer

[Review] Escape the Lost Kingdom: The Forgotten Pharaoh (PC)


A young family takes a trip to Egypt to visit Aunt Amy who is curating an Egyptian museum in the latter stages of prep before its grand opening. The museum is teaming with ancient ruins…and unbeknownst to anyone, is on top of an old tomb that contains an ancient Pharaoh curse. It was daughter Emily’s bright idea to bring Jinxie, the family cat, on this trip. When it escapes in the museum, the kids run off after it. Suddenly, the ancient curse is activated and locks the family in the museum in separate areas of the building. The family must separately, then collectively, find a way to escape the museum and ultimately the curse.

Escape the Lost Kingdom: The Forgotten Pharaoh from developers Gogii is a game from 2012 that has been sitting in my Steam library since 2014. I really enjoyed it, particularly the dynamic where you have the choice to play as one of four family members. Each member is armed with a helpful device that aids in solving puzzles. A helpful map is provided, and you are told when you have cleared an area. The game is under 3 hours long, and mostly consists of hidden object scenes and collecting items on your route.

Although a decent game, I must say Escape the Lost Kingdom does have its faults. It holds up pretty well graphically, but I am positive some will find it difficult to see certain smaller objects. Interestingly, this game boasts a 3D mode where users with the old red/cyan 3D glasses can play the game in “3D”, and I can only imagine what that looks like. The music is a bit caciphonic depending on what room of the museum you are in and some may be annoyed at the slightly stilted voiceover acting between family members, but I personally thought the dialogue was cute in a Treasure Seekers sort of way. On a funny note, no one can get a consensus on how the cat’s name is spelled: is it Jinxie, Jynxie, Jinxy, or Jynxy? Inquiring minds want to know!

The game ended on a major a cliff-hanger. I was particularly puzzled when I still had items in my inventory as a black slate went up saying “Game Over”! I read other reviews on Escape the Lost Kingdom, and found out its Platinum Edition provides another chapter that rounds out the story perfectly. That is unfortunate…what happened to Jinxie/Jynxie/Jinxy/Jynxy? What happened to the curse? The Platinum Edition isn’t available on Steam…At this stage I’ll never find out!

I’ve dealt with other Gogii games that end weirdly (Voodoo Whisperer) and I hate to turn the stink-eye towards them…but dude, finish your games! I don’t want to out and out thumbs down Escape the Lost Kingdom, but it is disappointing to see an incomplete ending because the rest of the game isn’t bad at all. Developers, complete your story, then use the Platinum Edition as a bonus for gamers to unlock.

Overall, Escape the Lost Kingdom: the Forgotten Pharaoh is pretty good. Just ignore the confusing ending!

3/5

Escape the Lost Kingdom: The Forgotten Pharaoh
Gogii
2012

[Review] Voodoo Whisperer: Curse of a Legend (PC)

Lillian is a young girl growing up in 19th Century New Orleans; a place steeped in traditions of Black Magic. Lillian has been cutting her witchcraft chops with famed Voodoo Whisperer, Marie Leveau…and good thing, because Lillian’s friends and family have just become possessed by an evil demon and it’s up to her to save them from certain fate. Given a trusty recipe book, Lillian (you) scours the town for important ingredients to blend together using a mortar and pestle. A little alchemy…a little chant…maybe a voodoo doll…and poof! She breaks the spell.

Voodoo Whisperer: Curse of a Legend is a hidden object game that had been long forgotten about at the very dingy bottom of my Steam library, and its purchase was likely a flash Steam sale in 2014. I chose to play this one on a whim.

Developed by Gogii Games, Voodoo Whisperer tries hard to do something a little different with the hidden object genre. Sure, there are the familiar puzzles we often see with this type of game. But, being somewhat of a period piece set in the 19th century, Voodoo Whisperer never deviates from the epoch. It provides a good ambiance in decent graphics and enjoyable classical music (great oboe!). It helps too that hidden object scenes have you searching through objects of the time period (monocle, cane, felt hat, lace hanky) which shows great attention to detail.

Speaking of…Kudos to the developers for providing  an on-board magnifying glass so you can zoom in on the hidden object scenes. And, how about that in-game map? Applause!

With all these accolades, I still had a problem with Voodoo Whisperer…in that it got a little repetitive. In the game, Lillian had to save at least 5 people, and each one had a spell she had to break by finding ingredients to create a potion. The game indicates areas to search, but some areas had you look into drawers, closets and rooms only to have the game tell you “there’s nothing there” or “it’s just an empty drawer…” What? Why waste my time with that? There was also a lot of back-tracking to find certain missing ingredients which got tiresome and frankly tedious. With the outcomes of breaking the spell being the exact same with every person, I found myself hoping the end would come soon and that it would all be worth it.

Let me tell you, that ending…

Folks, the end of Voodoo Whisperer left it at quite a disturbing cliff-hanger and concluded with a “…to be continued…” slate. Reading online, there was supposed to be a part 2, but the project has been shut down indefinitely as the developer and publisher parted ways. Too bad, because the ending left Lillian in quite a terrible predicament.

[spoilers spoilers spoilers – (scroll over the area below to see)]

Lillian falls into a well, only to have an evil spirit seal the well head with a wood cap…leaving Lillian in peril.

[End of spoilers spoilers spoilers]

Overall, Voodoo Whisperer had some great gaming elements that I wish other HOG developers would implement. And about the tedium, I admit some people don’t mind the repetition in gameplay that this game offers. I only wish the developers followed through with their plan for sequel, because that ending! Yikes!

2.75 / 5

Voodoo Whisperer: Curse of a Legend
Gogii / Strategy First
2014