iPhone Game Review: The Mystery of the Crystal Portal Reviewed by JadeDragon
The Mystery of the Crystal Portal for the iPhone and iPod touch is a stylish hidden objects game. As a journalist who is trying to find her missing father, Nicole Rankwist must travel the world searching for clues and unlocking the truth behind the Crystal Portal. As the game takes you to exotic locations around the world, ordinary items become important clues and puzzles emerge as keys to the world unknown. The game offers realistic scenes, enticing music and tightly integrated gameplay that combines hidden objects and puzzles. It has a good amount of gameplay but it's not a long game.
There are 14 levels in The Mystery of the Crystal Portal that take you to 6 locations including New York, Japan, Swish Alps, Africa, Russia and Guatemala. The majority of the gameplay is hidden objects, and the game usually offers 2-3 scenes in each location. The scene design is quite clever: instead of giving you a list of things you need to find off the screen, Crystal Portal has key objects. These key objects can be activated only after you have found all the items required and they will either come to live or disappear to reveals what?s hidden inside or behind them. You will find a list of these key objects on the bottom of the screen and once you have found everything, you will see a green checkmark on the key objects. There are time-based hints available in the game, if you need more hints before the next one becomes available, you can buy more hints via the in-game purchase option.
The storyline plays a part in tying the hidden objects gameplay with the puzzles. In each location there are special items you will need to find in addition to the regular objects. The special items are the puzzle pieces you will need to solve the puzzle at the end of each location and unlock a partial key for the Crystal Portal. These puzzles vary including picture, gear, pattern, light puzzles and more. They are fun to play and provide nice diversions after a couple of levels of staring at hidden objects pictures. Both hidden objections and the puzzles offer achievement goals, they are listed in the journal along with the level selections. You can only share the achievement goals on Facebook.
Taking advantage of the signature locales, The Mystery of the Crystal Portal has stylish and clear graphics. Each location has different looking pictures from the last, and they are rich in colors. Objects have a natural look and easy to see. Zooming is smooth and pictures stay sharp after zooming. The scene designs use clever ways to hide objects in shapes and colors, and even on moving items.
The Mystery of the Crystal Portal has both background music and sound FX. The background music is authentic with track style matching each locale. Mixed in with the oriental flute music or the Africa war cries, sound brings life to the scenes: bird chirping, cow mooing, clock chiming and more. You can turn on or off both or either Music and Sound in Options menu.
Another successful port from a casual PC game, The Mystery of the Crystal Portal is a must play title for the hidden objects fans. It has an interesting design, beautiful graphics and polished sound. We wish the game offered more scenes and locales, but with the open ended story let?s hope we will see an add-on or a sequel title.
Ratings (scale of 1 to 5):
Graphics: - 5 - Realistic, natural looking scenes. Objects are clear and easy to see. Sound: - 4.5 - Stylish music tracks that match the locales, fun sound FX. Controls: - 5 - Zooming is very smooth, user interface is well designed. Gameplay: - 4 - Enjoyable hidden objects gameplay, fun puzzles, just need more levels.
Playing Hints and Tips:
-Some items are hidden behind key objects. So you might have to finish one key object before can complete another. Look for the glowing key objects first.
-In the hidden room under father?s study, after you?ve found everything, turn off the lamps and use the page with the key symbol to activate the pattern matching puzzle. This will unlock the final door.