Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Game Review - The Hanging Gardens of Babylon

Game Review - The Hanging Gardens of Babylon
Score +1/-7


A fairly typical hidden object game in gameplay, but featuring very good background artwork.

+ Very good artwork in background images and the cutscenes. The hidden object scenes are somewhat average, however. Some of the artwork does appear to be unfinished, however, such as the filigree or other details on some parts of the queen's clothes.
- The introduction movie cannot be skipped. Once you've seen it a couple of times, it's nice to be able to press [ESC] or something to skip it and go straight to the main menu.
- The hidden object scenes are filled with objects that are implausibly placed, often implausibly sized, and frequently anachronistic and inappropriate to the culture/geographic region of the story.
- Very poor attention to detail: For example, in the very first hidden object scene, one of the items to find was a "necklace". There were at least two necklaces, but they weren't the correct ones and could not be picked up. When we used a hint to discover the correct necklace, it was what appeared to be a flower wreath around a stone lion head carving on the wall. In a later market scene, there are two wagon wheels. One of the objects to find is a "wheel", but only one of the wagon wheels qualify.
- Inappropriately named objects: In a market scene, a large floor carpet on top of a tarp is a "rag". There are similar cloths or carpets on clotheslines, but they don't count.
- Clicking on an object does not always select it. For example, if you click a harp where the strings would be, it does not count -- you have to click the frame. Combined with duplicated items, this can lead to a lot of wrong clicks as you experiment with which object you are supposed to click.
- Spelling and grammatical mistakes. Just because English is not the developer's first language doesn't mean this can be excused, since it is a very popular language to being with that a proper translation shouldn't have been hard to outsource. If they did outsource to a translator, they should definitely get their money back.
- The immediate story needs more introduction and context. We start in a cluttered bedroom and ultimately find a golden dagger which we are told is a key and she is lucky to have found it. But why is the Queen there in the first place? Where is she going, or is she going to just stumble into adventure?

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