Developer: Smack Down Productions
Price: FREE ($6.99 to unlock full game)
Version Reviewed: 1.2
Device Reviewed On: iPad Mini Retina

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

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

Melissa K. and the Heart of Gold HD is one of the classier Casual Adventure/Hidden Object games I’ve played in recent times. With some stylish visuals and well designed touch-based controls, it’s pretty pleasant to play and fans of the genre will easily lap up what’s here.

melissak6Set in 1947 Thailand with plenty of mythology and intrigue, Melissa K. and the Heart of Gold HD treads a somewhat familiar path with supernatural goings on and plenty of mystery. It’s the way that the visuals work that ensure this is a game that feels different from the usual bunch. Notably, moving your iPad around slightly causes a similar effect on screen, ensuring that Melissa K. and the Heart of Gold HD feels more interactive and vivid than most.

The game itself is the usual blend of wandering around in order to collect items, combining things from your inventory to get ahead, plus those love ‘em or hate ‘em Hidden Object scenes. Along the way you gain tools, such as a torch to illuminate the way and a lizard that you can send off to find items in small gaps. It’s small touches like these which add to the game’s personality.

There are puzzles as well, with some proving more challenging than others. Often they lean towards the logic or jigsaw-based mentalities we’ve seen before, but it’s a comfortable kind of familiarity. Some can be quite taxing too, such as one involving lighting up an entire arena with only limited options.

melissak1Crucially, there’s a choice of three difficulty modes on offer and what you choose dictates the puzzles you’re going to get. Stick to the easiest mode and Melissa K. and the Heart of Gold HD is a little too easy and lacks some of the more interesting puzzles.

Will it test old hands at the genre? Probably not, but it does offer a fun ride anyhow. Melissa K. and the Heart of Gold HD feels like a game that was designed for the iPad, with those visuals being particularly eye-catching. It’s easily one of the superior entries to the casual adventuring genre.

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