Tuesday, 3 May 2011

The Wrath of a Damaged Huge

Oh Lord help us all... here we go again!
Yep, some time over Easters, Big Fish's exclusivity period expired and M3 threw open some kinda metaphorical door, blinking in the brilliant sunlight, and has taken to promenading along virgin processing units to tickle the fancies of a fresh audience and stroke the thighs of new reviewers. And, if you'll kindly allow me to share one... last... review... (huff puff), I'll thank you all later in the week with a new piece of M4 concept art hot off Miracle Ben's digital canvas.

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Her parents spent their time searching for an artifact called the Severed Heart. Now, Edwina Margrave is driving through the dark woods to a remote village where her mother and father were last seen. Probably not the brightest idea she's ever had, but Ed knows a thing or two about the supernatural realm. The hidden adventure Margrave: The Curse of the Severed Heart opens up with our heroine arriving at a dimly-lit cottage in the woods. She is seeking answers, but naturally she'll find many more questions as things begin to unravel in a most peculiar way. Ghostly animals haunting the realm of the living, anyone?

Margrave: The Curse of the Severed Heart begins predictably enough, but as soon as you get a taste of the gameplay, you'll realize how deliciously perfect the game really is. Just like most casual hidden object games, the mouse and your cursor will guide you through just about everything, changing shape to point you to areas you can explore further, items you can pick up, or directions in which you can travel. In addition, Margrave features a neat twofold inventory system that includes key items as well as keepsakes, small objects you find or sketches that Edwina takes down of things that could be important later on.

No hidden object game would be complete without hidden object scenes, and while Margrave doesn't focus on them very heavily, you'll find more than your fair share of laundry lists to complete. Items are extremely well-hidden in this game, blending in with the background so you have to stare at every other pixel to find many of them. The hint button becomes your best friend very quickly!

Analysis: Margrave: The Curse of the Severed Heart is all about the story and setting, and it paints such a wonderful picture with both that the gameplay comes in second. In fact, sometimes the actual "game" parts of Margrave seem like an intrusion, as all you really want to do is explore the surroundings, make sketches about unusual symbols or items you've seen, and discover new things about the occult world just beneath the surface. Margrave has depth, layers of intrigue piled on top of each other. It's like watching an episode of Lost, sans polar bears.

Another high point in the Margrave experience is the Dream Card mini-game. Each time Edwina encounters animal spirits, she uses these cards to divine the animals' former names. To use them, you must place four cards on the screen so that the shapes on the sides form the figures shown at the top of the screen. It's a unique sort of diversion that's different from the usual mini-game fare. And it's steeped in tarot artwork and mythology, so naturally you'll feel a bit like a psychic yourself each time you name a spirit.

With fantastic locations to explore, a great storyline to follow, and an interface design that never gets in your way, Margrave: The Curse of the Severed Heart is the kind of hidden object game everyone wants to play. If you were to line everything up that makes a good hidden object game, tag it and rank it in order of importance, Margrave would mirror that list almost perfectly. It really is designed that well, almost as if the people who made it actually play casual games themselves!

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Okay, I'm only sharing the good reviews! :o)
Let's counter that right now. I think g@mrgrl's review is absolutely spot on. S/he incisively plucks out the strengths, weaknesses, and genuinely gets the spirit. This review is pretty similar to the 'as objective as possible' conclusion that my own mind drew, with the jejeune caveat 'man, if only I had a bigger budget!'
(Actually, just noticed that this is a 'g@mrgrl recommends' review. I honestly didn't notice, or get that from the review. Sheesh. It's at moments like this that you wonder who lives in the eleventh dimension...)

Here's something else to muse upon...
Imagine being interviewed as a character. And imagine that the questions asked breach the real world. Imagine the myriad problems that plop from the problem tree.

Edwina Margrave was interviewed by Harry Balls. Here are the first few questions:

1. Your name, Edwina Margrave is quite unique. Did your classmates make fun of your name when you went to school?

2. What was your nickname growing up?

3. How did the first two hidden object adventures prepare you for this challenge?

4. In general how do hearts get severed?

5. Do you really believe in curses or are they just tools game developers use to create a story?

Have a think.
The full interview is here.

And finally, here's what happens when translations go wrong! I'm not linking to the site because it offers a free download. (For 'free' read 'it'll infect every artificial organ in your pc'.)

Clear in the British country side, Edwina Margrave has went back to the bungalow just where the woman's mother and father passed away, wanting to speak having the an individual human being that may well highlight the catastrophe - the unstable landlady, Miss Thorn in Margrave: The Curse of the Severed Heart. However her shocking revelations aren't just what Edwina anticipated! Enlist the facilitate of the mood international and evade the wrath of a damaged huge as you browse Margrave: The Curse of the Severed Heart a coronary heart-breaking up Hidden Object Games Puzzle Excursion game - Margrave: The Curse of the Severed Heart!

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