Helping Scarlet Write 

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With this next game, the developers have melded together asset management with Hidden Object game play as an author tries to overcome writer’s block.

avanquest manor memoirs
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Scarlet is a talented writer who is suffering from writer’s block at the beginning of this next game.  In an effort to overcome this affliction, Scarlet decides that a complete change of surroundings might be the answer to her problem.  To achieve this state of affairs Scarlet attends an auction and purchases a 19th century mansion situated in the country.  On her arrival at her new home, Scarlet realises that the dwelling will need a great deal of work to make it into a suitable living environment and so she calls on you to help in the game of Manor Memoirs.  This game, developed by Playrix, is available in Collector’s Edition format from the Avanquest GSP’s game label.

With regards to its Collector’s Edition format, this game comes with various bonus items to accompany the main task of helping Scarlet restore the Manor and rediscover her enjoyment of writing.  You get immediate access to Concept Art,  Wallpapers and Sound Tracks with the last two being available externally from the main game with pointers to the relevant files stored on the hard disk.  There is also a Strategy Guide which divides its content into areas that are designated as Tips & Tricks, Mini Games and Collectibles Leads which covers the numerous Hidden Objects elements making up the game.  Once the main game is completed then you will have access to five bonus levels that cover different areas of the manor.

Adjustments can be made to the playing environment of this game.  You can play in either windowed or full screen mode using a system or game cursor.  Separate volume levels can be set for background music and sound effects.  You also have the choice of playing in relaxed mode or against the clock.

This game combines the two game playing styles of asset management, as you redesign the Manor, and the raising of money from Hidden Object game play to pay for the development.  While the asset management concentrates on the manor’s main hall, Hidden Object game play consists of numerous garage sales, based on areas within the Manor, where items are sold to interested parties.

As mentioned earlier, Scarlet asks for your help to restore the Manor.  The name you give your character will be used throughout the game as new furniture and fittings are added to the main hall.  In this default mode, the view of the hall will be overlaid with options running across the top of the screen displaying the amount of money available plus links to achievements gained, help and the main menu.  When items are available for purchase they will be displayed across the bottom of the screen in groups of four.  Various models of each item will be shown, listed by price.  The hall view will change instantly to reflect the various choices to help you make a decision.  You can change decisions later by opting for Design mode.  An Eye icon in the top left cornet can be used to clear away overlays for an unobstructed view of the hall.

The hall view will also display Scarlet as she moves around the area carrying out various tasks that include lighting a fire, working on her book, watching television, making suggestions and playing with the cat.  As with your character, the cat can be named and this will be used throughout the game.  From time to time letters will arrive with requests for help and telephone calls will help the story along.

In order to clear away unwanted items and raise money at the same time, numerous garage sales are held based on different areas of the Manor.  These garage sales take the form of Hidden Object scenes with up to 20 items being located and sold to purchasers. The purchasers will be shown five at a time with the price offered displayed alongside their image.  Items required will be listed as text, in cryptic form or as a silhouette.  A rechargeable Hint feature can be used to pinpoint a required object.  Many scenes will also contain coins which can be collected to boost the band balance while some scenes contain a special search tool in the form of a camera, compass or thermometer that can help identify the position of items.

At the conclusion of each Hidden Object scene you will be presented with a Statistic Report.  This report will contain the amount of money earned including an accuracy bonus.  There will also be a hint regarding playing the game.

Manor Memoirs does bear a strong resemblance to Gardenscapes, another game from Playrix.  The game’s graphics are suitable for this form of game play with animation sequences as Scarlet and the cat move around the hall.  Hidden Object scenes also feature animations which can be a little distracting.  There is some repetition in both the garage sales scenes and the items being sold.

The game’s specifications call for a 1GHz processor with 1GB of RAM and 380MB of hard disk space running Windows Vista and later.  This game is priced at £5.10.

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OverallAvanquest GSP Manor Memoirs rated 72 out of 100

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