Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPad 2
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I've not played the original Runaway game but I suspect it's a very good sign that Hidden Runaway makes me want to track it down. At its most basic, Hidden Runaway is a re-imagining of the original title. Players work their way through main characters Brian and Gina's recollection of what happened back then. Something that I suspect fans of the original will adore.
The graphical style is quite reminiscent of the wonderful Broken Sword. It's a similar case when it comes to the interactions between Brian and Gina, with echoes of George and Nico quite evident. Hidden Runaway is a different kind of game, however. Puzzles are more casual and less lateral in nature, with hidden object scenes also preferred here.
It all works well. There are sufficient number of characters to converse with so as to add to the plot of the game, but there's also quite a focus on solving certain conundrums. One scene, for instance, requires players to find the right objects to create a 'fake' Gina to place in a different hospital bed so that the mafia are fooled. Some combination of objects are required but for the most part, the game's engine deals with all this, leaving players to just find the items.
It's a similar case with the hidden object scenes. While some are easily spotted, others require looking in desk drawers or combining certain objects such as adding ink to a printer so that it can be used. The hints system is quite slow to recharge so players are left to their own devices for a while. It can get a little annoying when some objects feel too hidden for their own good but it does extend the longevity of the game quite well.
Other puzzles can also be solved such as the casual gaming favorite: a jigsaw. There are more challenging fares to deal with, also, such as a logic puzzle that's a kind of process of elimination. Musical notes also feature in one challenge, requiring a careful ear. It's a good mix of puzzles, ensuring that Hidden Runaway's gameplay is just as interesting as its storyline.
One particularly neat, if minor, touch is that while navigating a hidden object scene, if the player taps incorrectly too many times, the screen cracks for a moment. It's a classy touch and much more punishing as well as original than simply docking the player some points or time.
That touch of class exudes throughout the rest of Hidden Runaway, propelling it above the typical heights of Hidden Object gaming. The story is interesting and charming with the playable elements just as intriguing. It's an all round sterling package.