Price: FREE (with $4.99 in-app purchase unlocking full game)
Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 4
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There's something simplistically compelling about Special Enquiry Detail: The Hand that Feeds. On the surface it's a title we've all seen before - a hidden object game that was previously a PC title. Converted over to the iPhone screen, it suffers slightly from the limited screen space the device offers but it's still quite enjoyable.
While the hidden object genre frequently does away with compelling narrative, Special Enquiry Detail: The Hand that Feeds offers a pretty intriguing tale of murder and corruption. It feels like a lightweight version of CSI, right down to the puzzles that are offered. Besides the many hidden object sequences, there are also a series of mini game puzzles, typically of the rotating jigsaw kind or safe cracking variety. Few are hugely challenging but they break up the gameplay nicely as well as add to the storyline.
Some hidden object tropes no longer exist making the game much simpler, such as the fact there's no penalty for touching the wrong item and there's also no penalty for asking for a hint. It makes the game easier if the player wishes to go down that route but it also offers a greater focus on the storyline. As previously mentioned, some puzzles suffer a little from the small screen space and the need for multiple fingers to manipulate objects. For the impatient, it does encourage a sneaky press of the skip puzzle button which is a shame. There's also the issue of how bright the screen is as the game does offer some shady corners, making it tricky to see at times.
Other than the screen limitations however, Special Enquiry Detail: The Hand that Feeds is a pretty solid hidden object style game. Offering a bit more to the genre than just spotting objects, there's some extra longevity here and the 12 chapters in all feel sturdy enough in length to make the asking price of $4.99 reasonable.