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Disappearing Party Guest
Gloomy Tales – One Way Ticket is a Hidden Object Adventure game from Domini Game catalogue. I have been looking at the Collector’s Edition version of the title which comes with a number of bonus items. As usual some of the bonus items are available immediately while others, such as Mini game puzzles, Hidden Object game play and movie cut-scenes, require you to have encountered them in the main game first before you can replay them. You also get a bonus chapter once the main game has been completed.
As usual with Domini Games, the player can make certain adjustments to the playing environment. Different levels of volume can be set for music, effects, environment, and voice plus you can adjust the screen brightness and activate settings for a custom icon, special effects and a click indicator. The game can be played in a choice of Casual, Advanced, Hardcore or Custom difficulty level to suit different skill levels.
Your role in the game is that of a photographer employed by the Mystic News, a publication dealing with paranormal incidents. You have been invited to a Halloween costume party being held by Anna Charlestone. While attending this costume event, you will be expected to take photos and help judge the winner of the best costume competition. As it turns out, the winner of this competition will become the focal point of the game.
As well as providing your photographic skills, you will need to act as an investigator, handyman, a potion creator and competent in handling wandering spirits who love to get in your way. All these types of tasks will need to be completed as the competition winner if whisked away to an alternate reality.
Domini Games provides the player will its usual array of tools to assist your tasks. Arranged across the bottom of the screen are tools designed for Notes/Tasks, Map, Inventory, Previous scene, Strategy Guide and Hint features. The Inventory does limit you to a view of just five items at a time with the result that you will often need to scroll left or right, using chevrons, to locate an item that might be required to complete a task. There are also icons giving access to features showing the state of your relationship to other characters and how many of the three types of collectibles have been discovered. The collectible types are Dishes, Masks and Tickets which appear from to time.
Once discovering that people tend to go missing from parties, and the current party is no exception, you will need to visit several locations, often requiring several visits, meet characters to provide their needs plus gather the necessary items to perform rituals to appease or defeat spirits. Throughout the game, good use is made of overlaid windows and a split screen approach. Overlaid windows are often used when examining an area or object thus delivering a closer look. Split screens are used to display a character delivering their dialogue in printed and spoken formats with the second side showing the current scene. Sometimes the split screen approach will present a choice of responses or actions with your selection affecting the flow of the story line.
This title follows Domini Games usual practice of providing the player with a choice when tackling a Hidden Object scene or a mini game puzzle. In the case of Hidden Object game play, you are given the option to switch to Match 3 action if the lack of instructions with Hidden Object game play does not appeal. Among the Hidden Object challenges are those involving a story book image with associated text, a scene spread over two screens or a scene made up of three independent bands that can be rotated separately. I regularly took the Match 3 option with its more simplistic style of play.
With mini game puzzles the choice allows you to select from Easy or Hard mode. Generally Hard mode will involve more stage than the Easy version. A range of different problems are used to challenge the player to solve in order to make progress.
There were times when playing this game when I felt a little confused as to the route the story development was taking and the path I needed to take. While this title is challenging, it is not a game that I would regularly replay. You can download this title from Gamehouse.com where it is priced at $19.99. This title is also available from Big Fish Game priced at £15.75. System requirements call for a 2.0 GHz processor with 1024MB of RAM running Windows 7 and later.
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