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iPad Game Review: Ancient Spirits: Columbus' Legacy
      12/06/10 12:38 PM

iPad Game Review: Ancient Spirits: Columbus' Legacy
Reviewed by JadeDragon

Big Fish Games has come up with a winning game formula that combines a hidden objects gameplay with mystery solving. We've enjoyed the stories of Hidden Expedition, Amazon, Everest and Titanic. Now they have brought us another expedition following the footsteps of Columbus and discovering a mysterious artifact that possesses ancient spirits in Ancient Spirits: Columbus' Legacy.

Gameplay

Virginia sets off to follow Professor MacNara in searching for Christopher Columbus' missing ship. Though Virginia takes the journey alone, she kept finding clues left by the Professor. As she follows the clues, she ventures into the jungle, the caves and other locales on this mysterious island. And what does she find? A dead sailor?s body, another sailor?s ghost, a sharp looking ship and an archeology dig in the middle of nowhere with nobody insight? As you move from one location to another, you see stranger and stranger things like a trap hole on the ground, a magic kettle, and many more. You will also not only find hidden objects but revive plants, make an omelet for the ghost, build a bridge and basically become a female Macgyver who can make anything out of the material she finds laying around.



Finding these items is a long and tough journey onto itself. There are many scenes with lots of hidden objects that can satisfy hidden objects fans. There are two interesting variations in Ancient Spirits in terms of hidden object gameplay: one is the use of spirit goggles which let you see the spiritual world that would look too white out to the naked eye. But once you put the goggles on, you see everything clearly and can find the objects required. Another interesting twist in the hidden object scenes is the near field and far field, two-layer scenes that create a depth of field and each layer moves independently from one another. You will need to find objects from both fields.

The gameplay has a nice flow that moves you along even with all the puzzles. What you have in your backpack often gives you hints as to what to do next. Also reading Virginia?s monologue and her dialogue with the ghosts and spirits will help you figure out the next steps also. So don?t skip the text. The game also gives you hints by placing blue sparkles around exits to let you know where you need to go (unless you play the game in Expert mode in which case the blue sparkle hints will be turned off). It?s amazing how many locations the game gives you on a little island, and how much you have to do. There are some mini games also ranging from picture puzzles to pipe connecting and lots more. These mini-game puzzles are not only fun to play but truly provide breaks from the main gameplay that lasts quite a long time.



Graphics & Sound

Graphics look amazing in Ancient Spirits. They are sharp, colorful and live up to the ?HD? name. Two fields of scenes create an interesting illusion and make a good use of the large screen of the iPad. Each scene has items that fit in with the background, and the spiritual scenes add another interesting twist. You will often take time from playing the game to just check out the scene. It?s that eye catching.

Controls are quite simple to use and smooth to operate. Other than tapping on the objects in the hidden scenes, you only need to drag items in your backpack to make things and use things. The only action that took more steps is the cooking scene. But follow the instructions on that piece of paper you will do just fine.

Ancient Spirits has both background music and sound effects. Background music plays only at the title screen, ending scene and other intervals, but when in a hidden objects scene, music disappears giving away to a full compliment of the surrounding sound, like waves, birds, water dripping, etc. and sound FX plays when you find a required objects or achieve a goal in solving puzzles or playing mini-games. You can turn on/off both music and sound FX in the option menu.



Conclusion

Though highly formulated, Ancient Spirits: Columbus? Legacy manages to provide hours of gameplay that?s full of actions in a nice snapping pace. The game certainly has plenty scenes to please the hidden objects players, and the mystery solving, puzzles and other actions peppered in the game are well placed and nicely designed. You will enjoy the graphics in two layers and appreciate the details in each location. For Hidden Expedition fans, Ancient Spirits: Columbus? Legacy is not to be missed.

Ratings (scale of 1 to 5):

Graphics: - 5 - Very sharp graphics with lots of details.
Sound: - 5 - Sound package manages to immerse you in the environment you see on the screen.
Controls: - 5 - Easy to use and no glitches.
Gameplay: - 5 - Yes, the gameplay follows a formula. But it?s a lot of fun and it has a good pace.

Playing Hints and Tips:

- If you are stuck in the game, look at you inventory and see what you have and what fits in the scene.

- There is a hint system for the hidden objects gameplay, use the paint brush to get them.

App Facts:

Developer: Big Fish Games
Release Date: Nov 25, 2010
Price: $6.99
Buy App: Ancient Spirits: Columbus? Legacy

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