iPhone Game Review: Ankh - The Lost Treasures Reviewed by JadeDragon
Ancient lost treasures with an intriguing story usually make a great hidden objects game. What could be more fun than embarking on a treasure hunt in ancient ruins and exotic locales? And those ancient ruins are particularly handy for hiding objects in plain sight. Ankh - The Lost Treasures follows this formula to a tee: an ancient Egyptian temple was looted, a ship disappeared without a trace on the Nile and an incredible treasure is lost. Our heroine must find this legendary ancient artifact and in turn save her father's life. Most of the elements of hidden objects games are there, although scenes aren't particularly ancient in Ankh, and one thing that's quite different: some items are blurry, intentionally.
With a dozen scenes, Ankh has a good amount of gameplay. Each scene has sufficient amount of required items scattered among background items, and many are well hidden. Unlike many hidden objects games, Ankh ? The Lost Treasures gives you clues only by letters (names of the items you must find) and no picture matching (gives you a shape of the object you must find). But it has an interested twist: some times it?s not good enough just to find the items, you must also use a found item on something else to reveal another layer of hiding scheme. For example, you must first find the broom, then use the broom on spiders, grass hoppers and snakes scattered in the scene. Another thing that?s different in Ankh ? The Lost Treasures is that when you zoom in on a scene, not all items will come to focus. This means, items that are blurry by designed will remain blurry after zoomed, and you must identify them even if they don?t look sharp. This increases the game?s difficulty by some, but not by a lot since a silhouette of a hat still looks like a hat. It just takes some getting used to for hidden objects gamers who expect everything to be sharp when they zoom in.
Since Ankh ? The Lost Treasures is ported from the PC version, we get the same story and a map where you must journey through and find items in each location, and crack some jokes along the way. While the back story is uncomplicated, the series of in-game dialogues string actions together, often providing the reasons whey you need to find the hidden objects. The dialogues are funny at times, but not all are sharp tongued and Comedy-Central worthy. After you?ve collected required items, the game presents you with a mini-game that includes finding broken shards of an image and put them together like a jigsaw puzzle to review a location, a map, etc.
There are two modes of gameplay: normal and relaxed. There is a timer in Normal playing mode while in Relax mode you can take your sweat time. If you ever get stuck, Ankh ? The Lost Treasures offers hints. You accumulate the number of hints allowed as you go deep into the game. A veteran hidden objects gamer with a decent amount of determination won?t need that many hints, but some items are very well hidden, a tribute to the cleverness of the game design. The game has options for audio, but doesn?t offer individual scene replay even after you?ve finished the game. No scoring or achievements in Ankh.
Ankh ? The Lost Treasures has nice graphics and scenes look like nice pastel paintings with Egyptian locale as center theme. The items look fine and even with scenes that are cluttered with items, everything seems to fit together. Hidden items are well drawn, some are nicely integrated into their surroundings. The blurry items take some getting used to, but once you get over the initial curve, they too seem to fit in the picture. Like the PC version, Ankh ? The Lost Treasures tells the story in paper-cut children?s story fashion with painted Egyptian wall as background. It?s primitive yet stylish.
Ankh ? The Lost Treasures has both background music and sound bites, though neither has a large collection. Background music doesn?t sound particularly Egyptian, rather it sounds more like island music with flutes and percussion dominating the pieces. There isn?t music while in a scene where you need to concentrate on finding items, but all other screens (story telling cut scenes, map view, etc.) have accompanying music. Sound bites are appropriately placed when the game wants you to pay attention to dialogues, when you find the right items, etc. Though no options to select your own music inside of the game, you can certainly play your own iPod music while playing the game. Just launch your iPod music, then launch the game.
Ankh ? The Lost Treasures enjoys hidden objects pedigree with several popular PC series, and certainly provides a solid gameplay. Though not very long, the game has varied locations that don?t repeat items often and keep things interesting. The design of consistent dialogue while not treasuring hunting is an interesting element, and the jigsaw puzzle mini-games are also enjoyable, though incredibly easy. The graphics are eye-catching and the audio package is top notch. Price though is a bit high, but for the hard core hidden objects gamers, it?s worth the admission. The rest of you should wait for the on-sale price.
Ratings (scale of 1 to 5):
Graphics: - 4.5 - Stylish graphics, some items are blurry by design which might turn some players off. Sound: - 4 - Good music selection, and nice sound bites though not that many. Controls: - 5 - Touch control and zooming are very smooth, no glitches. Gameplay: - 4.5 - Solid gameplay, no individual level selection after completing the game.
Playing Hints and Tips:
- Not all things are easy to find when zoomed in. Combine your zooming action with the zoom out view.
- Some items are almost invisible, completely hidden with their surroundings. But you don?t get penalties for tapping an suspicious item or area. So try items that look like the one you are searching for freely.