Bland, but not without merit.
DS review by Navarium
There are many different genres of games that pique my interest, maddeningly frustrating hidden object games which only conceivably serve to exacerbate the onset of strabismus on otherwise healthy muscles cannot be placed on that list. Mystery Case Files, a title developed by Big Fish Games; a company that has thrived on the somewhat questionable popularity of the MCF franchise best described as a collective of search-em-up games cleverly positioned as a niche within a niche. Introduced in this latest outing are a multitude of new features capitalizing on the DS's touch screen and microphone capabilities.
The game begins with a narrative driven story-mode which places you in the very capable shoes of a distinguished gumshoe whose objective is to investigate the mysterious disappearance of an eccentric millionaire known as Phil T. Rich. The case, more complex than initially anticipated reveals that no less than 12 suspects stand to gain from the demise of Mr Rich. The suspects themselves, although easily identifiable from their colourful portraits have the propensity to spout out brief, badly written and sometimes incoherent dialogue which can hamper the enjoyment of the games story-mode. The puzzles themselves at times can be quite challenging, a randomly generated menagerie of around 30 improbable items, (25 of which must be found to clear the stage) blended convincingly into a 2D painted backdrop. Fortunately, implemented is a hints system which identifies with precision the location of any outstanding item on your list, the number of hints available per stage varies between difficulties as does the allotted time on the stop watch with the outright removal of any time constraint on the easiest setting. Items are cleverly concealed or camouflaged, for instance – a ships steering wheel may be positioned to overlap the wheel of a mobile food cart, the deceptive strategy employed to hide objects is often enough to incite the player to randomly tap on the screen in an attempt to find some of the more elusive objects. To make the search more interesting new game play mechanics have been introduced such as a flash light, for searching in darkened rooms; an x-ray, used to make all items transparent, which can often reveal hidden sought after objects; goggles, for use underwater. None of this really adds depth to the game, but does at least facilitate the flow of game-play preventing the experience from becoming too stagnant. Mini-games, periodically spread between investigations are an assortment of sliding tile and jigsaw puzzles which aren't very interesting or engaging.
MCF: Millionheir is a title which can only be taken at face value; the very design of the game hamstrings the potential for unique fresh puzzles and game mechanics. Other than the rudimentary story-mode the player can engage in randomly generated quick-play puzzles in any of the environments that you've unlocked. Fans of the series will find themselves at home with MillionHeir, others who make the foray into this brand of adventure puzzling may break away before the game has a chance to inject some of its alluring and addictive qualities.