It's hard to mess up a hidden-object game, but Interpol tries.
- International locations have local flavor
- Finding hidden things is satisfying.
- Blurry images
- No real challenge
- Careless item distribution
- Too expensive.
Hidden-object games seem to follow a pretty simple formula. Create a scene that is jam-packed with knickknacks and gewgaws, and then challenge you to find a few specific items amid the clutter. Interpol: The Trail of Dr. Chaos does this much, but not particularly well. The images are slightly blurry, and the items that you are charged with finding sometimes appear too often or are indistinguishable from the background. It's lackluster in every way, overpriced at 800 Microsoft points ($10), and over before you know it, but it still scrounges together a few hours' worth of idle, eye-straining entertainment.
Don't let the quasi-dramatic title fool you: Interpol is all about locating hidden objects in cluttered scenes. There's an international crime story stuffed in-between scenes, but it's barely worth reading. You'll "travel" to various cities around the world, each of which has three or four landmarks that serve as levels, as well as a bit of local flavor to spice things up. In each level, you must find the objects listed at the top of the screen before time runs out. Given that you have an absurdly generous half an hour to find everything, you'll never feel any pressure to hurry up unless you're trying to secure a spot on the leaderboards. If you just can't find a particular item, you can use one of your limited "hints" to immediately locate the item in question. There are achievements for not using hints and finishing levels quickly, but Interpol doesn't actually impose any challenge on you. Whether this is boring or relaxing will depend largely on your own disposition.
Relaxing, that is, until your eyes dry out from staring too much. Diligent blinking will take care of that for you, but Interpol doesn't do you any favors visually. The images are all slightly blurry, especially in particularly crowded areas. This can make finding small objects such as pens and batteries nigh impossible. You can tap X to make your cursor into a small magnifying glass, but magnifying blurry images doesn't make them less blurry. Fortunately, you can just tap around these areas randomly until you find something. Tapping too rapidly will result in a time penalty, but you can go at about one tap per second and never be penalized. Most of the items are identifiable, but some are not, leaving you to employ the "This area looks weird, I'll just go tap it a bunch" strategy. Some levels also contain more of a specific item than you need to find, so you may see something labeled "London Map" that won't actually count as a map. This is irritating, but not as downright annoying as the bonus levels that ask you to find a whole lot of one particular thing. These levels are either very easy or ridiculously hard, and you'll actually be glad to get back to the normal levels.
With only 11 locations around the world, Interpol will last you a few hours at most. Up to four players can play cooperatively either locally or online, but there are no competitive modes, so you're pretty much doing the same thing that you do in single-player mode, only faster. The object lists will change slightly on subsequent play-throughs, but not so much that you won't get repeats. It's a barebones effort that underwhelms throughout, but even Interpol can't completely squash the simple pleasure of finding hidden things.
- Downloadable Game