Mystery Case Files Shadow Lake - First Impressions

Praise casual/ mystery game lovers because Big Fish has released the next installment of Mystery Case Files....which for Game Club Members is 2 days early.

Firstly Mystery Case File is part "point click" adventure, part solving puzzles, and part finding objects in the world's messiest room (remember those I Spy days?). Supernatural and Psychological Horror is the main story theme of the series and it's no different in Shadow Lake when you have to explore a mysterious town cursed and devoid of the people...well you;re almost alone and it isn't just the ghost hunters TV crew. Another main feature of this installment is the blending of live action scenes with the gaming environment. For example you are aided through out the investigation by the medium played by Back to the Future's Lea Thompson.

As for the puzzles, I found the hidden object segments to be interesting and a "spin" on the regular HOG scenes because the scenes of the very scenes you have to travel to; not a separate scene specific to HOGs only. Plus you're not searching through one scene for objects but traveling through several scenes to look for your list of items. The other puzzles are the classic jigsaw (but ever done a jigsaw puzzle of a video playback while floating in space?) and the various different puzzles which include connect the wires. For me the video play-back puzzles were kind of an interesting spin on jig saw puzzles but at the same time it was tricky(and madding at times) to get used to trying to shift pieces into place, in zero-g. At least the pieces lock into place when correctly aligned.

As for horror factor...it is kind of obvious we are not alone but its kind of freaky when suddenly the news caster in a news broadcast suddenly screams at you, looking through a key hole another eye is looking right back at you, flashes of a burn victim appears when you close a medicine cabinet, and the figure in photo suddenly lashes out at you. The graphics are an improvement compared tot he rest of the series. Although personally the hand down backgrounds have a certain appeal, cgi and fog give the game a visual gloomy, supernatural feel.

Here's the sneak peak from Big Fish...

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