Price: FREE ($4.99 to unlock full game)
Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPad 2
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Rarely is there a truly innovative Hidden Object focused game, and 9 Clues: The Secret of Serpent Creek is no different. Fortunately, it's still a solid example of the genre and does try to offer something a little original, even if it doesn't go quite far enough.
Set in the 1950s, players control a private investigator as they seek out Helen Hunter; a journalist who has gone missing during a town's snake festival. It's a fairly predictable start to an admittedly fairly predictable story, but it's told well and remains interesting throughout. During some moments it even manages to be downright spooky and sinister in undertone. The snake theme further adds to such creepy behavior.
Gameplay is familiar but done well. A selection of Hidden Object scenes litter the game, and offer some variety in the form of connecting together items to create a listed item. They're a little on the easy side for the experienced Hidden Object fan, but it's enjoyable. Elsewhere are a variety of puzzles, with some proving simple enough and others being quite taxing. The logical ones were my favorite; generally involving some thought as well as a touch of trial and error.
Best of all is the reconstruction mode, a twist on Hidden Object scenes that adds a real detective style feel to things. It requires players to reconstruct a crime scene by finding various clues before the game pieces them together to retell the story. It's a nice twist but not being able to piece together the clues by oneself is a missed opportunity. It all proves a little too easy, even though the thematic connections are welcoming.
A fine mix of tried and tested methods, 9 Clues: The Secret of Serpent Creek is a rewarding casual adventure game. It might not revolutionize despite its efforts with the reconstruction mode, and it's a little on the easy side, but it is fun and bound to entertain fans of the genre.