Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 4
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G5 Entertainment and Big Fish Games are big names on the casual gaming market, especially where hidden object titles are concerned. Regularly releasing new and fun games within the genre, they know what works so it's a shame that The Magician's Handbook: Cursed Valley feels a little run of the mill compared to their usual content.
The basic core to what works so well in the genre is there. Spread across 13 chapters, players spend much of their time seeking out objects from a static screen location. It's the usual process with a time limit and penalties for tapping the wrong area too many times. The problem is that all too frequently, it's hard to see some of the items, especially on such a small screen as the iPhone. Size isn't the only problem, however, with lighting also providing difficulties for even the most perceptive of gamers.
To mix things up slightly, spells can be acquired that help the player complete these sequences. While a spell like Reveal shows where one object is (thus negating the need for the Hint button quite so readily), Repel clears some of the random objects that aren't needed thus making it easier to spot a relevant item. There's also the ever predictable 'dark' stages in which the player must use a torch to try to see around the room.
There's also the addition of mini games with one providing a basic Match Three game and another involving finding relevant letters to form an incantation, tapping into the magical theme. Neither are particularly exciting though but they do at least break up the gameplay.
That's a steady theme within The Magician's Handbook: Cursed Valley. It's all fine but nothing more than average. Nothing makes it stand out from the crowd, not even the attractive hand-painted backgrounds. For those desperate for a hidden object fix, this is probably worth a look but there are better titles from G5 Entertainment and Big Fish Games out there.