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Witch Island Origin
Last year I reviewed Witch Island 2. As the "2" part of the game's title indicated, this was the follow-up offering to Witch Island. Now there is a third title in this series. Adopting the Star Wars concept of delivering prequels and sequels is an out-of-order sequence, this third release is entitled Witch Island Origin indicating it is set prior to the first two offerings.
Developed by Itera Labs, Witch Island Origin is a Hidden Object Adventure game. It is based on an island that is both magical and cursed, consisting of a land that is currently controlled by a mysterious witch. Falling under the witch's control are the woods covering most of the island and the various animals that have made this island their home.
Prior to entering the world of Witch Island, you can make a few adjustments to the game playing environment. Volume levels can be set for issues such as sound effects, background music and ambient. You can opt to play the game in full screen mode. Profiles can be created so that the progress of different players can be recorded. There is also a choice of difficulty levels entitled Easy, Normal and Difficult. These levels deliver a variety of charge rates for the game's Hint feature.
The game opens as two sisters take a stroll through a forest glade and discover a watch which turns out to have magical properties and later proves vital to completing the game. Later that same night, the older sister disappears. In quick succession the watch breaks into various pieces and the younger sister, named Liza, falls down a hole.
When Liza reaches the bottom of this hole, she finds herself in the magical forest. You are immediately sure that this environment is magical as Liza finds Greeny who is her pet soft toy dragon. Greeny has suddenly developed the ability to speak as do the other creatures residing in this land. Rather than spend his time being cuddled or neglected, Greeny takes on the role of the game's Hint feature, leaving you the task of helping Liza find and rescue her sister, repair the watch and thwart the witch's plans.
Positioned across the bottom of the screens, used to display the various locations in this magical world, are the various tools available to Liza. Occupying the central area is an inventory showing the objects that have been collected. Arranged on the left are options to open a diary that automatically records findings, menu and a map of this land. Greeny, in the role of the Hint feature, sits on the right of the inventory. The friendly green dragon can offer help by pin-pointing a required object during Hidden Object game play; suggest your next point of interest in Adventure mode and deliver instructions for a mini game.
As you explore the game's different scenes and locations, which are set out in a left or right direction, you will encounter outbreaks of sparkles and mini circles to indicate areas that need further investigation. When encountering a Hidden Object scene, you will be faced with a variety of formats. The standard method of representing the names of items to be collected in text format, with those coloured yellow requiring an additional action before they can be used, is often used. On other occasions you might need to collect a set number of a type of fruit or irregular shapes from a screen full of images. Another type of format will require finding matches of two or three identical items from a heavily cluttered scene.
Dotted throughout the game are a number of mini puzzles. They are of a varied type and often involve aspects such as logic, trial and error and hand-eye coordination as you work through tasks such as placing crystals in the correct spaces, assembling figures, throw pine cones at rats and the creation of an underwater breathing apparatus. Once tackled in the main game, 12 of these mini puzzles can be replayed from the Bonus section of the game's title screen.
As Liza makes her way across the landscape, either moving in a forward or backward direction, solving the mini puzzles and Hidden Object interludes, she will encounter the witch's guards blocking her progress. These monstrous beasts will need to be removed and this task can only be carried out with a magical pistol. These pistols are only good for a single use and will need, in each case, to be located within a special container.
Partway through her quest, Liza will need to enter a magical tunnel which has the effect of reducing her to insect-size as she enters their domain with more problems to solve. Liza learns that her sister was responsible for breaking the watch and is working for the witch. Liza is now faced with the dual task of repairing the watch and saving her sister.
My first impressions of this game was that it was more suitable for the younger members of the family but gradually I came round to thinking that its appeal was more aimed at an older group. The game's graphics are suitable to the style of game play and you get a good mixture of mini puzzles and varied Hidden Object sessions.
I downloaded my copy of the game from Gamehouse.com where it is priced at $9.99. The game requires a 2.0 GHz processor with 3072MB of RAM and 3.85GB of hard disk space running Windows 7 and later.
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