iPad Game Review: Midnight Mysteries: Salem Witch Trials Reviewed by JadeDragon
To say Midnight Mysteries: Salem Witch Trials is a hidden objects game is like to say Joe Montana could toss a football. There is so much more to the gameplay than just finding a few things, it's about solving a mystery. The mystery is how Nathaniel Hawthorne really died, but that?s only the beginning. Salem Witch Trials is a sequel to the successful PC game Midnight Mysteries: Edgar Allan Poe Conspiracy, and MumboJumbo has brought this PC hit to the iPad. Midnight Mysteries series of games rely on players' knowledge of literature and history to create a fog of suspicions and doubts that lead you to uncover the conspiracy each story implies.
It?s widely known that Nathaniel Hawthorne, a famous America author from the 19th century, died in his sleep while traveling on the White Mountains. Now, what you might not know is that Hawthorne is the great-great-grandson of one of the judges who oversaw the Salem Witch Trials. Hawthorne even added a ?w? to his last name to distance himself from that legacy, so says the game.
Midnight Mysteries: Salem Witch Trials starts out with Nathanial Hawthorne?s ghost appearing and pleading for help. This starts the journey to Salem and the long lost past where you will interact with ghosts, search for human remains, solve riddles, gather clues, and ultimately right the wrongs and lift the undeserved curse.
The gameplay doesn?t try to belong to any genre, but use all elements to work for it. There is hidden objects gameplay where you have to find items on the list and tool for the inventory. You will also explore everything in the landscape: houses, the courthouse, jail, House of the Seven Gables, caves, a well and more. In each scene you will need to observe and use the clues (check the notebook often) and items in your inventory to talk to ghosts, open doors, build a boat, and even travel to the past where the events in history replaying themselves right in front of your eyes.
The game is dark, spooky and often no obvious clues as to what the next step is. The only way to solve the mysteries is to explore everything and through trial and error. This gameplay breaks the mode and presents you with an adventure that feels so real that you are completely immersed in it. Like a great book, Salem Witch Trials reveals the truth in an unhurried pace yet makes you want to race to the end to find the answers. The game also includes puzzle mini-games, tool building tasks and more.
In case you need some help, Midnight Mysteries offers hints. Make sure you collect all the crows in the game to save up the hints. There are also clovers you can collect that unlock the unlimited hidden objects games, some of which you don?t get to play during the main game. Nice!
Midnight Mysteries: Salem Witch Trials is a dark game with dark and spooky graphics. The scenes are so well done and look so real that you?d swear you?ve seen them in some dark Tim Burton movies. The graphics in Salem Witch Trials work not only as the visual surface of the gameplay, but also plays part in the gameplay as some scenes offer visual clues for next steps in the game. Everything is nicely drawn and rendered, and the game wouldn?t be as engaging without these moody yet beautiful scenes.
Midnight Mysteries has both music and sound FX. Music plays the part, so do sound bites. Dramatic and moody tracks alternate in the game to help create the pace, and the game also knows when to stop the music to create an eerie feeling. When music stops, sound FX takes over. The sound FX is well designed with human whispers, sound of wind swirling, squeaky doors and lots more, and the placements for these sound bites are almost always perfect. If you play this game alone in the dark with the sound turned up, you might just spook yourself during the gameplay. Oh, also hope you like the sound that a crow makes, cause you will hear lots of it in the game.
MumboJumbo?s Midnight Mysteries series PC games are very popular because they blend every spice of the game into a deliciously mysterious dish. They have a little of bit of conspiracy, a little bit of ghosts and ghouls, and a little of bit detective story in them. If you haven?t played these games on the PC, the iPad version of Salem Witch Trials is your chance to get a taste of these mind-bending games. The visuals and audio packages will blow your mind while the gameplay gives it a little twist.
Ratings (scale of 1 to 5):
Graphics: - 5 - Very polished graphics, moody and stylish. Sound: - 5 - Complete package of music and sound FX working well with the gameplay. Controls: - 5 - Easy to use, responsive. Gameplay: - 5 - A dark and intriguing journey that keeps you on the edge of your seat till the end.
Playing Hints and Tips:
- The hidden objects gameplay has a word game element, i.e. it gives you a clue what items it wants you to find, like ?waxed light? means ?candle?.
- Remember you can combine tools and items. Everything in your inventory has a purpose in the game. Once that purpose is fulfilled, that item disappears.