Nightmares From The Deep: The Siren's Call is a new hidden object adventure game from G5 that pits you against Davy Jones himself, as you attempt to solve the mystery of Kingsmouth. There's also an iPhone/iPod version available in addition to the HD version for the iPad models.
In order for a hidden object game to set itself apart from the crowded field, it needs to innovate. However, if you innovate too much, you may lose those defining qualities that make these games so popular. Challenging but relaxing. Spooky but not nightmarish. thoughtful but not frustrating. Aficionados have also come to expect things like adjustable hint systems, timers that can be disabled, and a good interface. Thankfully, Siren's Call does a great job of "not fixing what ain't broke" while at the same time introducing some new gaming elements to keep things feeling fresh. For example, if you are tired of hunting for hidden objects, you can opt to play a game of Mahjong instead. With games like this it's all about giving the player options to play his/her own way, and Siren's Call works harder at that than any other hidden object game I've played.
As the game starts, your protagonist finds herself flung into a supernatural aquatic mystery when a mysterious statue is stolen by... shark men. Yep, that would probably convince even the most skeptic pragmatist. As you progress through the game, you will find hidden objects, collect usable items, use these items, solve puzzles, rinse, repeat. To keep things fresh however, G5 has worked hard to bring the story to life through animation and clever interaction with your environment. Trust me, you won't simply be moving from hidden object scene to puzzle and back again. There is enough variety here to hold you like a good beach book as you try to solve the mystery at hand. 48 locations, 20 hidden object scenes, 28 mini-games, and Game Center support for achievements. All-in-all, a very polished offering for fans of the genre.
Although I can't find anything to confirm this, Siren's Call appears to support high resolution artwork for retina-enabled devices. On my iPad Air, the graphics were crisp, clean, and definitely appeared to support my device's screen resolution. More so than most other gaming genres, hidden object games demand quality graphics due to the fact that you will likely spend hours squinting at them in an effort to find everything you need. In this regard also, Siren's Call does not disappoint. Crispy crunchy graphics like this come at a cost, however. Siren's Call is well over 800MB in size, which means you may need double that much free space to install it. Definitely a consideration for those of us with limited storage.
Moody, immersive soundtrack, and nicely sampled sound effects make Siren's Call an aural treat. I actually went to the effort to put on my headphones while I played and was glad I did.
In-App Purchases (IAPs)
If you download the free version, unlocking the game costs $6.99; the same price as the full version. As always, I recommend downloading the paid version so you won't be at the mercy of G5 to unlock your content in the years to come.
Seasoned hidden object adventurers will most likely consider this purchase a no-brainer, and rightly so. It hits all the right notes without diminishing the core experience that makes these types of games so popular. Highly recommended for fans of the genre, and if you're new to this type of game, Siren's Call is a great place to start.
Ratings (scale of 1 to 5):
Graphics: - 5 - Beautiful and lush graphics will enhance your gaming experience. Sound: - 4 - A pleasant soundtrack and nice effects will make you reach for your headphones. Controls: - 5 - Very organized design, labeled inventory items, and accurate interface. Gameplay: - 4.5 - Doesn't bring anything truly innovative to the genre, but does a great job of refining and improving gameplay.
Playing Hints and Tips:
inventory items may be used multiple times for different things! The puzzles are logical but not obvious so give yourself a bit of time before burning a hint. Remember: Mahjong games can be substituted for hidden object gameplay in case you are on a tiny device or just plain tired of searching.