Price: FREE ($6.99 in-app purchase to unlock full game)
Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPad 2
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Hidden Object games are frequently very cathartic experiences. With no reliance on fast reactions or even huge expanses of concentration, they're the ideal genre to dip into for any length of time and any level of skill. Masters of the genre, Big Fish Games, combined with iOS publisher, G5 Entertainment, ensure there's a steady supply of the games on iOS with seemingly a new title every week. This time round, it's the turn of Letters From Nowhere, a Hidden Object game that's pleasant yet flawed.
In Letters From Nowhere, players take the role of Audrey whose husband has vanished. A mysterious letter and a trail of clues leads her, and the player, through a tale that's actually quite interesting rather than just providing a backdrop to the regular gameplay.
Letters From Nowhere promises 48 locations in all but I did find that around halfway through the game, some scenes began to repeat. This wouldn't be such a problem, if it wasn't that the placement of objects didn't seem to change, reducing replayability. The lack of a zoom feature is also a little restrictive, particularly when some objects are quite dark to see even on the large iPad screen.
Letters From Nowhere does have one neat trick up its sleeve though, some items require being combined with others in order to clear them. Some lateral thinking is required in some cases such as realising pencils need to be placed in a pencil case for it to be cleared off the screen.
Amongst the Hidden Object scenes is a selection of mini games. These are simply done but break up the regular action. Jigsaw puzzles play an important role as well as a simple game of pairs, amongst others. Eleven episodes in all means that it'll take around 4-5 hours to complete which is adequate value.
At $6.99 to unlock the full game, Letters From Nowhere is on the more expensive end of the scale for the genre. This would be fine if the scenes weren't repeated at times or if there was a zoom function. As it stands however, Letters From Nowhere feels lacking in the extra touch of class that games from Big Fish Games usually provide. It's an enjoyable enough romp that made time go quickly but one that doesn't fully show what works so well in the genre.