Graven: The Purple Moon Prophecy is another classic hidden object adventure game from G5. Sporting 50 levels and 22 mini-games, this one will take about as long to finish as a good beach book, and for about the same price so those of you concerned about value, fear not; there's plenty to do.
As with most games in the genre, Graven features a spooky story with beautifully eerie settings, this one, however, freshly incorporates myths of ancient British Druidic culture. Your protagonist is a young archaeologist who has arrived in the town of Brittany to investigate a nearby set of standing stones. Within moments of her arrival she finds herself swept into the adventure, which will ultimately take her to the fabled land of Avalon.
Graven offers all the features we've come to expect from a good hidden object adventure, including multiple skill levels, the ability to zoom when searching for objects, a continually replenishing hint meter (no microtransactions trying to sell you hints), and the previously mentioned mini-games. As the story progresses, you will gather objects from various locations and figure out where to use them, and when. The hidden object portion of the game utilizes outlines instead of named objects, primarily because some of the objects don't have recognizable names as they are parts to be assembled into something useful. This may be off-putting to some, but it also allows removes any potential language or vocabulary barrier. Some of the things you will interact with must be collected and used elsewhere, which is also a bit uncommon for these games. I had to use a hint because I couldn't figure out why I lit a lantern when it didn't illuminate anything useful. I didn't find this frustrating, though; in fact, I appreciated the effort to bring new puzzle-solving elements into the genre.
My only complaint about the game is the map. While it does allow for fast travel, it doesn't give you any clue as to which locations actually have something for you to do. For this reason, I found using the hint globe to be much faster. As with previous G5 games, no hint is consumed unless something is actually revealed so getting where you need to be is mostly frustration-free. Lastly, for you achievement hounds out there, Graven offers Game Center support, and 19 different achievements.
Graven: The Purple Moon Prophecy features retina graphics on supported devices, and it looks great. As is typical with these types of games, animation is minimal so don't expect a lot of special effects. There is enough activity on each level, however, to keep you from feeling like you are looking at a static image. Water flows, and objects sparkle with light; there is plenty here to keep you subtly engaged as you play. Additionally, as I previously mentioned, I always appreciate the ability to zoom when hunting for hidden objects, and Graven does not disappoint in this regard. Things get bigger without getting blurrier, unlike many competing games that lack G5's polish and high production values.
The sound effects are appropriately subtle as this is generally a quiet game genre. They work well, however, to let you know that you are successfully interacting with the game. The soundtrack is also very quiet, and served to enhance the immersion factor substantially.
Graven: The Purple Moon Prophecies is an excellent addition to the game library of any Hidden Object Adventure fan. It hits all the familiar notes, yet still manages to feel fresh thanks to its setting, plot, and game mechanics. It's a peaceful and relaxing game, but pulls this off without feeling dry and slow. While it isn't likely to convert twitchy gamers, it will provide hours of enjoyment for its target audience.
Ratings (scale of 1 to 5):
Graphics: - 4 - Vibrantly colored retina graphics. They won't blow your socks off, but they're quite pretty. Sound: - 4 - Nicely sampled sound effects. Subtle and understated, but they get the job done. Controls: - 4 - Everything works great except for the map, which is next to useless. Gameplay: - 5 - A solid addition to the genre. Fans of Hidden Object Adventures will not be disappointed.
Playing Hints and Tips:
Be sure to select the proper difficulty level to ensure a great gaming experience. Remember that hints aren't consumed if you tap the icon on a screen where there is nothing to do. This is useful for leading you to the general location where there are things to do, and will help you avoid wandering around randomly tapping on things.