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The Fox Returns 

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When performers go missing, you need to send for the detective with a nose for sniffing out clues.

Montgomery Fox and the Case of the Missing Ballerinas

Some may remember that Paprikan introduced us to Montgomery Fox who had abandoned his scavenger lifestyle and was not putting his skills to more advantage use by working as a detective.  Fans of Montgomery may be wondering how he has spent his time since that initial outing.  My research reveals that, after spending time sunny himself in my back garden, he has been busy disturbing my sleep with his mating calls.  Now, following the successful completion of the Case of the Diamond Necklace, this lovable rogue is back in the spotlight as he takes on the Case of the Missing Ballerinas in a new Hidden Object offering.

By creating profiles, the game allows different people to play a copy of the game and have their individual progress recorded.  Adjustments can be made to the volume level settings for background music, environment and sound effects.  By default the game is set for full screen viewing and this is not changeable.

A comic strip opening sequence introduces Montgomery to his next case.  He is sent to investigate the disappearance of ballerinas, with the initial culprit being designated as Lazy Dog.  Providing the starting point of Montgomery's investigation is a map which has a central role to play as it provides access to the various locations that will need to be visited.  The map also features access to Montgomery's notes on any sessions with witness and provides links to mini game puzzles as they enter the game.  You have no say in the route the investigation follows and you just tag along for the ride.

Your destination will be a well-drawn scene with a reasonable abundance of objects dotted around as if scattered willy-nilly.  These items could well be what you might expect to see in such a scene but not always.  Several of the items might be considered incongruous to the surroundings.  Not surprisingly these items were the ones I found the hardest to detect.

Arranged across the bottom of the scene will be an area displaying the items that you will need to find.  Due to a lack of available space, or more likely a concept to increase difficulty, only three of the required items will be shown.  As each item is found, it will be replaced by another required item.  Adding an extra layer of difficulty, each scene will feature an area sprinkled with sparkles.  By selecting this area, you are zoomed in for a closer look which might reveal some of the three items currently available for selection.

Fortunately there is a rechargeable Hint feature to pinpoint a required open.  However you do need to be careful as the Hint will open the zoomed area, if it holds a required item and is currently closed, without identifying the required item.  I found it was always best to have the zoomed area open whenever using the Hint feature so that an item would be identified and the Hint not wasted.

Situated at either end of the three item display area are two additional items.  On the left will be part of a magnifying glass.  It could be the handle, frame or lens.  This will need to be found.  On the right will be an object which is regarded as a clue.  Once found the clue will be transported to Montgomery's office and displayed for all to see.

From time-to-time, after the completion of a Hidden Object scene, Montgomery will question a suspect or witness.  However these are secret sessions to which you are not invited.  You do get to read Montgomery's notes but have no input. 

At various times you will be faced by a puzzle to give you a break from the steady diet of Hidden Object game play.  You could be asked to move a ball through a layout filled with "C"-shaped containers and move the ball from the top left to bottom right.   Maybe you might be asked to arrange coloured balls into their appropriate tube, create a line of police helmets by selecting the correct ones to flip, complete a jigsaw or perhaps the task will involve surrounding areas with the appropriate symbols to remove colour.  Limited instructions are supplied and you do get a Skip option.

As with the original Montgomery offering, I found this game better suited to short playing sessions as its format tended to be repetitive.  The game's ending indicated that there is more to come from Montgomery Fox.  Hopefully there will be a better check on the spelling of required objects.  I downloaded by copy of the game from Gamehouse.com where it is priced at $9.99.  The game requires a 1.0 GHz processor with 1024MB of RAM running Windows 7 and later.

Montgomery Fox and the Case of the Missing Ballerinas | GameHouse

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OverallThe Fox Returns rated 60 out of 100

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