Developer: InertiaSoft
Price: $1.99
Version: 1.2
App Reviewed on: iPhone 4S

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★☆
Controls Rating: ★★★½☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★½☆
Replay Value Rating: ★★☆☆☆

Overall Rating: ★★★½☆

imageAt the beginning of Darkmoor Manor, players find themselves stuck in the cellar of an old country estate with no explanation of why they are there. Passed out drunk after a game of overnight Murder Mystery perhaps? Unlikely. There’s something unusual going on, and someone needs to do some searchin’ if they’re getting out of this decrepit manor alive (or at the very least, mildly entertained).

This is a straight-up hidden object puzzle game, no doubt about it. There’s nothing particularly ground-breaking here, but that doesn’t mean that players won’t be patting themselves on the the back every time they find an elusive key or solve a perplexing puzzle. It’s both satisfying and entertaining as they get closer to freedom from the mysterious circumstances they find themselves in. There is a good variety of puzzles here too, though none should prove too difficult for most players. The manor itself creaks and buzzes with faint sounds of life, which can be pretty unnerving when perusing a cobwebbed cupboard or poorly lit cellar.

imageHowever, players will find that their forward momentum won’t last forever. As is typical with most games in this genre, they’ll be zooming through the first few challenges until they eventually hit a wall and gameplay descends into nothing more than hopeless wandering. This has always been one of the turn-offs of hidden object games for me. The endless backtracking and superhuman eyesight needed to find that cryptic clue or hidden object is tiring, and sours the experience overall. For example, there is a box that requires a password, of which I had to eventually look for online, because for the life of me I couldn’t find it anywhere. Apart from that embarrassing hiccup (I later realized my foolish blunder), I felt that the game progressed at a steady and enjoyable pace.

For players who don’t cave in as easily as I do, Darkmoor Manor is a great example of what a hidden object game should be: captivating, mysterious, and rewarding. It’s a solid addition to a popular iOS genre, and one that fans should delve right into.

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