This is a bizarre game.
Do you remember the old “Find the Object” game in Highlights magazine? This is that about 25 times set in Japan for some reason. It was completely and utterly mind-numbing.
I initially assumed the “searches” were going to be for clues, since it is, ostensibly, a murder mystery. But the objects you have to find are random. Why do I need to find five frogs and an elephant before I’m allows to go into a guy’s house? Why are there fans absolutely everywhere? Why am I wasting time trying to locate three eggs in the kitchen before I look in the fire to see what the cook was burning?
Oh, and despite how many goddamn find-the-object puzzles there were, there were only a handful of maps, so you were often finding the same objects multiple times. I powered through mostly out of irritation that someone could think conning people into doing one of these 50 fucking times was a good idea.
The game’s page claims there are more than 1,200 hidden objects to find. 1,200.
ONE THOUSAND AND TWO HUNDRED!
In an abortive attempt to break off the monotony, the game would often force you to play matching games (think: flip over and find pairs) or wave your cursor around the screen until it glowed. Once in a while there was a very basic “puzzle” where the answer was immediately obvious, like “find the house spite that matches this description.” But 90% of it was find-the-item. I think if you added up all the times I did those as a child, they would be less than the amount I did over the course of the last three hours. This game retails for $5! Mercifully, I got it for half off during a Steam sale, but I still feel like eating the $2.50 would have been a more constructive use of money, and I’d be three hours younger.
There’s not a single second where story and “gameplay” integrate, and the whole thing is just weird. I don’t understand what the developer was going for. The murder mystery itself is crappy and can’t be solved by the player, so it doesn’t make you think or anything, and it’s incredibly short — without all the god-awful object-hunts, it can’t be more than a half-hour worth of text. There’s barely any story and barely any gameplay. But the art is pretty, I guess? If you want to make pretty art you don’t also have to fabricate a so-called game around it in order to justify it. Just make nice pictures.
To make it even stranger, this was, for some reason, published by Square-Enix. I don’t even know.