iPad Game Review: Spirit of Wandering: The Legend HD
Reviewed by Tom Slayton
Spirit of Wandering: The Legend HD is an excellent new hidden objects game from G5. It is squarely aimed at hidden object purists as it contains no mini-games of any kind.
Spirit of Wandering is a solid hidden object game from G5 Entertainment. Gameplay is fairly standard for this genre; find a predetermined set of objects strewn randomly about a variety of cluttered locations. However, as with all good hidden object games, Spirit of Wandering seeks valiantly to set itself apart from the competition and, for the most part, succeeds. It does so in two ways; the first is its interface, which is one of the best I've seen for this type of game. If you've sought hidden objects before, you should be well aware how these games generally work.
Step 1: You are given a written list of items to find at each location. Step 2: Find said items. Step 3: Rinse. Step 4: Repeat.
While this is obviously the easiest way to program a hidden object game, from a user perspective, it is flawed. First, it ain't pretty. Second, if you don't know what, for example, an oscilloscope looks like, you're stuck. The second point is the primary reason that my 7-year old son doesn't like most hidden object games, yet loves others. He may not be able to read archaeopteryx, but he can sure as heck find one if he's given its outlined shape. Here is where Spirit of Wandering gets it right: The objects to be found are given as silhouettes, not words. Now, it's not quite as easy as it sounds because they can and will be rotated in the image, but it eliminates the inherent vocabulary problem of the more common interface. The fun doesn't stop here, however. Once you find all the required objects, you must then use a magical crystal orb to search for cherished items. The closer you get to the previously invisible items by moving the orb around the screen, the brighter it glows. Once you've zeroed in on the item's general location, it will fade into view and can be collected. Is it a gimmick? Sure, but it's a pretty fun mechanic, and definitely original. Even the hint system departs nicely from the pack. When you tap on the compass it will appear on the screen, pointing to the object that is vexing you. As you move the compass around the screen, its needle will continually reorient itself so that it is always pointing toward an unfound item. In this way, you can get just the amount of hint desired. Hints will cost you gold (which you earn as you play), however, so exercise a little restraint, please. Lastly, Spirit of Wandering fully supports Game Center Achievements.
Spirit of Wandering: The Legend HD has a freemium version with IAP options and a full version for $4.99 where you don't have to bother with IAP.
As I booted Spirit of Wandering for the first time, I was pleased to see the Playrix logo. Although the game is published by G5, it appears to be developed by Playrix; a company known for its super-polished graphics, and slick animation. After launching the game, I was not disappointed. Spirit of Wandering sports some of the most beautiful graphics I've yet seen in a hidden objects game, rivaling even the Treasure Seeker and Crystal Portal series of games. Each of the 24 locations scattered across six settings was filled with beautifully detailed objects and subtle animations. Better still, unlike many generic hidden object games, the objects you seek don't look like they're were hastily clipped out of magazines and glued onto your iPad's screen. These object look like they belong in the image. Shading, lighting, size, resolution; everything looks wonderfully detailed and polished. As objects are collected, they dissolve with a pleasing animation, and reappear in your inventory in the corresponding outlined spot. My only complaint about the graphics is the fact that the interface takes up about 30% of the game screen, and cannot be hidden. Even on an iPad, this made the game feel a bit cramped during play.
The music is beautiful and moody. It complements the game nicely, and I never felt the need to turn it off as I played (if you've read any of my other reviews, you know this is high praise, indeed). I also found the sound effects to be right in the Goldilocks zone; just the perfect amount of sound for this type of game.
The Spirit of Wandering is one of the most beautifully polished hidden object games you're going to find on the iPad. Graphics, interface, music, sound effects; Spirit of Wandering is about as good as it gets for this genre. Remember, however, this is a pure hidden object game so if you're looking for something with puzzles and mini-games, you might want to look elsewhere.
Ratings (scale of 1 to 5):
Graphics: - 5 - Superb graphics. Some of the very best you're going to find in a hidden object game on any iOS device. Sound: - 5 - Beautiful music enhances the mood and the sound effects do not distract. Controls: - 4.5 - I love the interface, but I've got to take half a point away for its greedy hogging of the screen. Gameplay: - 5 - Classic hidden object gameplay without any distracting mini-games. The magical Crystal Orb is a nice little gimmick that my son particularly enjoys.
Playing Hints and Tips:
Don't tap randomly as doing so will result in a loss of gold. Don't be afraid to spend your hard-earned cash on hints if you're stuck. After all, that's what it's for.