Lacks Challenge and Fun

User Rating: 4.5 | Mystery Case Files: MillionHeir DS
What was I expecting when I started playing this game? I guess I wanted some pretty pictures with lots of hidden items to discover tucked away in them. I wasn't too interested in the "Mystery" storyline, and it's a good thing, too.

When you initially start the game, you can play an untimed "Easy" mode or the default "Normal" mode that has a rather generous timer to find a variety of items hidden on a scene that takes up about 4-6 DS screens in size. After beating the game, you unlock "Hard" and the timer reduces by a factor of 10 - instead of being NO CHALLENGE, it becomes IMPRACTICAL and NOT FUN.

Interface-wise, the game is wonderful. You can scroll through the scene either with DS buttons or, as I did, sliding the screen around like a .pdf file by pushing on a spot with the stylus and moving it. You select an item you find by simply tapping on it. If you tap on too many items not on your "search for" list, you get a buzzer and the timer drops down a bit.

What's cool is that you have a variety of screen filters you can use to find items that aren't visible to the human eye. I really enjoyed using the underwater goggles to clearly see stuff in the pond, fish tank, etc. However, the x-ray goggles were more of a chore mainly because they were over-used. You also have a flashlight that simply limits you're total view, which is fine.

The problem I had was that each screen doesn't have cleverly hidden items on it that are relevant to the location. There are about 10 times as many items laying all over the screen than you actually have to find. It's like looking into a junk drawer. None of the items you are looking for have any relevance to the story. I was disappointed that the difficulty ramping was based solely on how much time you have to find stuff. I don't like timers. Instead, I had expected and did NOT get difficulty based on how well items were hidden.

Back to the story, "Move along...there is nothing to see here."

I understand that for replayability, the designers chose to throw everything plus the kitchen sink into each picture, so that the "random 10 items" you need to find rarely are the same. However, the plan backfired, I'm not interested in playing this again. Make the experience awesome the first time through!