Melissa K. and the Heart of Gold Collector's Edition Reviews

Titanium Dragon
Titanium Dragon
TSA Score for this game: 279
Posted on 19 September 17 at 09:02
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Melissa K. and the Heart of Gold is a hidden object puzzle game. Like most such games, it is ultimately a point and click adventure game, with an inventory of items; what sets these games apart is that a lot of the puzzles in the game are so-called hidden object games, where you have to do exactly that – find objects hidden in the environment.

Ultimately, this takes two forms – firstly, as you are walking around, there are objects around the world, cunningly hidden in the scenery. These inventory objects are things you need to collect in order to progress in the game. As you can adjust your point of view somewhat, this is actually essential to finding a lot of the objects, and some of these objects require you to line up the scenery just so in order to collect them. While pretty traditional as far as adventure games go, the game does hide small objects around the screen a great deal more than most such games do.

The other form of hidden object game is where you are given a fixed-view screen and are supposed to click on particular items from a list given at the bottom of the screen, or click and drag objects across the screen in order to assemble some object or complete some task, usually according to somewhat obscured directions. Again, these challenges center around finding objects in the environment, but in a more fixed manner. Some of these puzzles combine the two, or have items hidden inside other items in the environment (behind spiderwebs, inside a chest or pot, ect.) and you must click on them or drag some other object (like a hammer) over to break them open and get the object inside.

These puzzles are somewhat akin to Where’s Waldo, albeit with much more mixed things you are trying to find. If you enjoy Where’s Waldo type stuff, these games are likely to be at least somewhat up your alley, though I have to admit the fact that sometimes you had to click on sealed objects was counterintuitive, as some of the closed objects are less than intuitive to click on, and there are sometimes objects that it looks like you could open, but which you cannot.

There are also ordinary puzzles in the game, of a fairly broad variety, though all are simple point, click, and drag things, with the odd puzzle requiring an inventory object to complete. Things from arranging boards in order to form a bridge to navigating screens with a lizard to collect every item on the screen, these generally work out okay, though none of them are exactly groundbreaking.

But as an adventure game, this is a game with an overarching story – and frankly, it is a bit crap. The story starts with Melissa K, who is totally not a female Indiana Jones, going to Thailand in order to tutor some monk about western archaeology. The monk, however, has gone missing, and your rather weird guide encourages you to go find him. So begins a five hour long adventure (eight if you complete the optional collector’s edition section, which you can play after you complete the main game) where you go around a fairly small but surprisingly dense number of 2.5D areas with a slightly adjustable point of view.

The story is pretty nonsensical – characters appear without much cause or warning, the dialogue is often bizarre and not very well-written, and the challenges you must complete often feel quite arbitrary. The game contains CG cutscenes and CG characters, and while the CG cutscenes are passable, the 3D characters look very, very weird. To some extent, this is apparently intentional, but it still ends up looking very uncanny valley. On the other hand, the 2D art is generally fairly decent, and your namable lizard sidekick is downright cute.

If you find hunt the pixel puzzles annoying, you will absolutely hate this game, because it is centered around such things. If, on the other hand, you like hidden object puzzles, this game is okay… but the story is not exactly amazing, as far as such things go. I can’t really recommend it for $10, its asking price, but I got it for $1, as part of a bundle of 50 games in fact, so I’m not sure I can really complain. Still, I think there are a lot better adventure games out there, so unless you really love hidden object puzzles, I’d give this a pass.
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