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iPad Game Review: Amazon: Hidden Expedition
      #37218 - 05/27/10 03:29 PM

iPad Game Review: Amazon: Hidden Expedition
Reviewed by Shaun Price

Amazon: Hidden Expedition, created by Big Fish Games, is a very immersive and addictive hidden objects game. The iPad version has the same gameplay as the iPhone version but the graphics have been enhanced a bit.

Gameplay

Amazon: Hidden Expedition offers two modes of gameplay. The first being the main story adventure mode as well as a multiplayer mode. Big Fish Games has also integrated the OpenFeint social system into the game. The Adventure mode entails playing 50 different scenes to find various objects through out the game. The premise of the game is you traveling to the Amazon to revive it using these very rare beetles that you must locate.

Through out each scene or level you are required to locate a total of 10 objects. You are given three hints to use through out that set of scenes. There is a way to get more, by locating five beetles, which gives you another hint. The hints do not roll over from level to level. If you don?t use them it increases your overall score for that level. Some objects are highlighted in blue, which means that there is a special object that must be used in order to get the object that is highlighted.

Multiplayer mode is when you compete against another on a split screen to see how fast you can complete the scene. The game supports multi-touch which makes this gameplay mode possible. There are several time limits that you have to go against. 30 seconds, 60 seconds, even 120 seconds.



The levels get increasingly difficult as you progress further through the game. Depending on how well you do in those levels you are ranked based on how many points you obtain. The scoring is not very clear in Amazon. The OpenFeint incorporated leaderboard shows you those who have the game and have played through and what their total score is.

There are a total of 25 achievements you can obtain for Amazon: Hidden Expedition, including ?Trailblazer? for completing all the chapters, ?Compass? when you score 10,000 points in any chapter, ?Skydive? when you complete any Puzzle in less than 60 seconds and more.

Touch controls are average for this game. When trying to select small objects it makes it very hard to select the object even if you press it several times. The game can lag at times when you select several things at once. The cursor also disappears at times, mainly as a penalty for selecting non-list objects.




Graphics

The iPad's high-res screen presents a crisp scene that looks fantastic. However, when you start to zoom in, the scene gets a little fuzzy. This makes the gameplay less desirable. The scene should be just as crisp close-up as it?s the iPad version. That fuzziness makes it harder to see some of the objects, especially those that were hidden with a vengeance. (Seriously, hiding a misshapen brown wig in the desert?) While zoomed, Amazon: Hidden Expedition curiously pulls away from the borders, too. I have no idea why because many objects are hidden along the edges of the scene, forcing you to actually pull the border into view when zoomed in. This makes no sense whatsoever.

Sound

The background music in Amazon is very simple and repetitive. The SoundFX are also very limited. The one redeeming quality is the ability to play your own music while playing the game. You can select individual songs to play. However, having to scroll through the songs can be very tedious, especially if you have a large music library. There should be an option to choose from playlists as well.

Conclusion

The game is both fun and addictive. It is perfect for those who like the hidden objects games. I don?t know how one could not. It takes me back to the ?Where?s Waldo?? days. Like many recently released games, if you buy Amazon: Hidden Expedition, you can play it on either the iPhone or the iPad which is a great value. The multiplayer also adds value as you can play with someone together to make the gameplay more interesting. We do wish the zoomed-in graphics were more polished on the iPad though.



Ratings (scale of 1 to 5):

Graphics: - 4 - Amazing level detail, but fuzzy image when zooming in.
Sound: - 4 - Repetitive background music, redeemed with iPod music playability.
Controls: - 3 - Touch controls, it can lag and even freeze sometimes.
Gameplay: - 4.5 - Addictive, fun, a great way to pass a few minutes.

Playing Hints and Tips:

- There are no time limits in the single player mode in this game, you can take your time and work at your own pace.

- One nice feature of this game is that you can click on a word from the list and you can see a silhouette of the item on the lower left side. This will allow you to hang on to our hints for a longer period of time.

- Items in this game can be very hard to see at times. A lot of items are very faded or ghost like. For example you can barely see an outline of a sphinx in the clouds.


App Facts:
Developer: Big Fish Games
Release Date: April 9, 2010
Price: $4.99
Buy App: Amazon: Hidden Expedition


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