I spy, with my little eye, the worst hidden-object game I've ever played.
From the research I did on this title, it would appear to be the epic endpoint of an undead-themed story involving religious institutions, vampires, conspiracy, poorly rendered photos of people composited with a cartoon heroine, and hidden object-based gameplay so horrible you might find yourself longing for the un-death at the center of the story.
I didn’t pay two winks of attention to the weak thread of a story, which is poorly written and filled with hilarious typos (“I need here to put a light here.”). But it seems to involve a cartoon woman, who only has one expression, going around the world and meeting other cartoon characters or—more jarringly—grainy photographs of real people, in an effort to find clues that will lead her and her vampiritic cohort to the truth about… something. To uncover the fishy plot, you need only search, agonizingly, around a grainy, low-resolution image in order to find such important items as a dog print, a mask, a fish, and the occasional critical item, like an ancient tome or a cross. The game also occasionally relies on “spot the difference” puzzles, which are nothing but frustrating.
After about 15 seconds of tapping every available inch of real estate on the DS screen, a little icon lights up that actually points directly at the object of your search. This happens like clockwork, every 15 or 20 seconds. Can’t find that bizarrely opaque notebook page? Just tap this icon and move on. Of course, sometimes tapping the object doesn’t even take. I might blame the handheld’s touch sensitivity, except I don’t have this problem in other touch-based games.
Then there are the times when the game gives you absolutely no instruction as to how to complete your task. While it appears there are no hidden objects in this picture, since I’ve spent the last 10 minutes tapping every goddamn pixel, there apparently is one item to find. (The game lets you know how many items you have to pick out.) Where is it? Actually, I have to open my inventory and place certain objects around the room in arbitrary locations before the object just pops out. Excellent direction.
I can think of an impressive list of horrible, horrible things I’d rather do than play Chronicles of the Vampires: The Awakening (for example, being mauled by a bear is at least exciting). If you spend money on this game, you deserve what’s coming to you. How could a benevolent god allow such a game to be developed, published, and released to an unsuspecting public? These are questions for our society’s philosophers. You and me? We can just pretend this game doesn’t exist.