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iPad Game Review: Awakening: Moonfell Wood HD
      07/01/11 08:25 AM

iPad Game Review: Awakening: Moonfell Wood HD
Reviewed by Tom Slayton

Awakening: Moonfell Wood HD is a charming and beautiful puzzle/hidden object game from Big Fish Games. Fans of puzzle games should take note that you will occasionally be tasked with finding hidden objects. Fans of hidden object games should be warned that Moonfell Wood contains more puzzles than hidden objects.

Gameplay

In Awakening: Moonfell Wood you will solving puzzles and finding hidden objects in a variety of beautifully drawn and animated locations. The puzzles are nicely varied, and, like the larger game, are also highly polished. Before you know it, you?ll be untangling, jigsawing, rearranging, sliding, and tapping your way to victory. When you?re not puzzling, however, you?ll be working your way through the various locations, looking for useful objects, which are needed to advance the story. For instance, to see inside a hollow tree, you need to light a candle, but the only thing you can find that makes fire is a baby dragon. Of course, you will need to feed him first, which you cannot do until you solve a puzzle to learn his diet, which will then allow you to find his food that is scattered throughout the scenery. This mechanic, by the way, works quite well and translates into a very enjoyable game. The only downside of this is the need to move continually between locations. In and of itself, this is not a bad thing. Unfortunately, the lack of an in-game map means that if you don?t play regularly, you will forget your way around. Thankfully, this is only a minor annoyance due to the linear nature of most of the locations. If they branched to multiple locations, however, this would certainly be a problem.



Lastly, if you have children who enjoy these types of games you will be pleased to learn that there is nothing inappropriate or frightening in this game. While the theme is magical, it is not supernatural, and as a result, I had a difficult time prying this game away from my youngest son. The wise inclusion of a casual mode and a generous hint system should also bring a sigh of relief to parents and relaxed gamers everywhere.

Graphics

Moonfell Wood HD sports excellent graphics; easily on the top end of the scale in relation to other games of this type. The scenery is beautifully drawn and the judicious use of subtle lighting effects and animation helps greatly to immerse you in the game and suspend your disbelief. A particularly pleasant surprise is the fact that using the pinch-to-zoom function does not result in a fuzzy or pixilated image. If you've read any of my other reviews of hidden object games you are likely to know that this is a particular pet peeve of mine as I hate the uselessness of zooming in on images that aren't rendered to support zooming. Let's hope this trend continues.



Sound

Excellent voice acting, peaceful and haunting music, and high-quality sound effects seal the deal for Moonfell Wood HD, making it the total package. Play this game with headphones. You won't be disappointed.

Conclusion

Moonfell Wood HD is an excellent puzzle/hidden object adventure game (with an emphasis on puzzle). If you're a fan of this genre, this game should be an instabuy for you. If you're new to these types of games, the ability to invoke casual mode and skip any puzzle you choose should make it accessible to almost everybody. The top-tier graphics and excellent sound make it easy to give this game my highest recommendation for those who enjoy hidden object/puzzle adventures.



Ratings (scale of 1 to 5):

Graphics: - 5 - Excellent graphics, rendered at a high enough resolution to support zooming without blurring.
Sound: - 5 - Great voice acting, great soundtrack, and great sound effects.
Controls: - 5 - A flawless implementation of the touch interface. It works as expected.
Gameplay: - 5 - More puzzles than hidden objects, but enough of both to make this game a good choice for both camps.

Playing Hints and Tips:

Expect to move back and forth between locations as you try to solve the adventure. Don't be shy about using those hints if you're stuck; that's what they're for.

App Facts:

Developer: Big Fish Games
Release Date: May 26, 2011
Price: Free to download with an IAP of $6.99 to unlock the full game
Buy App: Awakening: Moonfell Wood HD

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