Back in September I had the opportunity to review my first hidden object game on the iPhone: The Mystery of the Crystal Portal by G5 Entertainment. It turns out that these guys have been, not only churning more titles of the same style, but also improving its quality and migrating them to the big iPad display.
Treasure Seekers 2: The Enchanted Canvases HD [iTunes Link] is the sequel of the first adventure game where you help a girl called Nelly to solve riddles and puzzles to find a pirate treasure. In it second incarnation, a more mature Nelly travels to fantastic destinations thanks magic canvases to find her brother Tom, who has disappeared looking for the philosopher's stone. The new theme is magical and triply, which opens a universe of fantasy, mysterious creatures and ghosts.
If you are are a fan of hidden object puzzle games, Treasure Seekers 2 plays like other hits of the genre such as Mushroom Age or Paranormal Agency. You are presented with a perfectly normal scene where you need to find tiny objects camouflaged with the scenery to unlock secret areas and solve puzzles. The iPad version I tested, benefited from the smart control HUD and the amazing amount of detail put into every level. While the iPhone versions are Retina Display supported, I was wowed by the huge difference these games make on an iPad. Despite the lack of animation and the option to roam free, graphics are refined, the effects are crisp and the lighting changes settings radically. Pro tip: Turn the brightness of the device to high.
The new story on Treasure Seekers 2 opens a huge world of possibilities for the gamer: you will travel to an Arabian tower, visit a lighthouse in a fishermen village, explore a medieval monastery, dive to an underwater world, meet vampires and werewolves and, hopefully, find the philosopher's stone in a haunted mansion. Every level mixes indoor and outdoor 2D scenes with different themes and atmospheres that keep you interested in the plot and offer more and more challenging puzzles as you progress.
The game mechanics are simple: talk to people, bring them their desired object, obtain your piece of information, solve a minigame puzzle and you are done. This is oversimplified, but I can assure you that most levels will take you more than 30 minutes to clear. The key here is to scan every scene for suspicious or misplaced items and start collecting hidden objects. With a linear story, there is no chance to get lost or do parallel tasks. Even if you get stuck, the trusty "Hint" button will give you a clue to continue the game.
Once again, once of the things I likes most were the minigames that you get during and at the end of every level. Having finished the game, I can say this time around they are all new and different and will test your logical skills. I felt the combination of short puzzles with object search was a great mix and demands you to think a little bit. The secret here lies in the depth of the story and varied riddles for you to solve.
Having tried a game from the same family before on the iPhone, I was impressed by the graphic quality in newer titles like Treasure Seekers 2 HD. Combining objects tends to make more sense and there is a variety of tasks to be completed that I haven't seen before. Every puzzle feels unique so you don't get the impression that you are doing the same thing over and over. In this case experience is a valuable asset and the developer seems to have addressed some minor issues I found with previous titles with this one.
The story seems to be shorter than the original, but it actually contains more scenes and a nicely balanced mix of tasks to keep you entertained for at least a week.
While I won't be the biggest fan of the genre, the truth is that it drags me like no other game. There is an element of continuity that allows you to pick it up after a month without playing and you won't be lost. I fear that many users will try to finish the game as soon as they get hold of it, because it is addictive. No wonder there is a free version to try… It is likely you'll get the hidden puzzle bug and get the paid version.
Treasure Seekers 2 HD feels more polished than the first title and incorporates new entertaining additions while keeping the same control scheme and gameplay elements as the original. The game has stayed up in the charts for weeks now and it was even featured by Apple in some countries, which always boosts sales. The funny thing I read in the iTunes ratings is that everyone is addicted to it too!