Developer: G5 Entertainment
Price: $4.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPad 2

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

Overall Rating: ★★★½☆

Fans of The Magician’s Handbook: Cursed Valley will enjoy its sequel The Magician’s Handbook II: Blacklore. That might sound like a lazy comparison but it couldn’t be more true when it comes to Blacklore.

The story is suitably mystical, throwing in kidnapped fairies and an evil pirate by the name of Blacklore. There’s magic that needs casting too, much like its predecessor. Ultimately though, players will mostly be searching landscape scenes in order to find items on a list. It’s a slightly more challenging title than the usual games to feature within the Hidden Object genre but otherwise it’s business as usual.

The key behind The Magician’s Handbook II: Blacklore is that players are collecting enchanted objects in order to learn new spells. Initially, it seems like easy going with players given five hints to help them along the way plus the promise of more courtesy of a slow recharging hints gauge. Keys can also be found which unlock bonuses such as special spells to help players even further and a magic wand.

The Hidden Object scenes themselves can be a little cluttered and objects can easily get overlooked, adding to the challenge. The fact that such items bear little relation to the storyline’s structure is a sure fire way to ensure that players will feel like they’re just jumping through hoops to get to the next section. Fortunately, the puzzles around the Hidden Object moments are an improvement.

These puzzles are reasonably varied. Early challenges might simply involve a form of reverse Spot the Difference, but later ones introduce the spells that are needed throughout The Magician’s Handbook II: Blacklore. Replayability is available in the form of different objects to be found each scene, as well as a choice of difficulty modes and story length.

It’s all quite fine and pleasant enough but I struggled to really get involved in the storyline of The Magician’s Handbook II: Blacklore. The randomness of the Hidden Object scenes didn’t really help matters. While the puzzles will scratch the brainteaser itch, everything else is a little too run of the mill to truly grab the attention.

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