Explore a mysterious deserted Mediterranean island in Twisted Lands: Shadow Town. An accident while you and your wife are enjoying a boating trip causes your boat to capsize and washes you onto the island. Unfortunately, your wife is nowhere to be found. Search the mysterious island with its deserted town, phantom inhabitants and curious snake figurines. Locate your wife and find your way home before the both of you suffer the same fate as the previous visitors to the island!
Twisted Lands: Shadow Town is a hidden object adventure game from Alawar Entertainment, the developer of hit games such as Snark Busters and the Craze and Farm Frenzy series. The game has the same high level of quality as Alawar’s other titles, featuring top notch gameplay, graphics and sound. However, this game introduces supernatural and psychological themes that are darker than the previous games.
You take on the role of a materialistic treasure-seeker, diving off the coast of Spain with your wife Angel keeping you company. Even after Angel’s admonishment that you should not be retrieving sunken treasure during your dives, you still go ahead and collect these artifacts. This time, one of the things you find is a strange figurine of a snake. Suddenly, you lose control of the boat and you are washed ashore onto a mysterious island. Unfortunately, Angel did not end up on the same part of the island as you, so you set out to look for her.
Twisted Lands will take you to mysterious and bizarre locations, from an underground door carved with the creepy snake symbol, an abandoned cruise liner, and a foggy town whose denizens all seem to have disappeared. You will also come across more of the snake figurines and encounter supernatural characters and ghostly apparitions. You will get dragged deeper into a surreal adventure in your quest to find your wife and get off the island.
Much of the game is shrouded in fog and has a dark and creepy feel to it, making it fit the theme of the game just right. Though dark, the art is detailed and beautifully drawn, depicting each scene in a style that suits it well. The soundtrack is also good and appropriate for the setting. The haunting music itself will give you goose bumps, though sometimes there can be an uncomfortable silence until you click something and the music starts again (which may be intentional).
The gameplay in Twisted Lands is pretty much what you would expect to find in a scene-based point-and-click adventure game of this style. You have a primary interface where you see your current surroundings as well as any objects of interest (which sparkle if you’re playing in casual mode). Clicking these objects will either zoom in closer for you to interact with, or launch a hidden object scene or puzzle. Sometimes, interacting with these objects will require you to have previously picked up a specific tool, say a screwdriver to remove a laptop’s casing.
The hidden object scenes feature artwork that is clean and crisp, and hidden objects that are detailed and not too difficult to pick out. It seems like these scenes don’t take as long to solve as those in some of the other hidden object games. This can be a good thing, as you get to focus on the developing story rather than squinting to find a few dozen hidden objects. The various mini-puzzles in the game are mainly logic-based, and are also quite interesting.
The story in Twisted Lands is really strong, and it is obvious that the game is very story-driven. Every time you move to a new scene or click an object of interest, you will get a first-person narration, either tying in the object in question with the story, or advancing the plot. After every few scenes, you will also be treated to an animated scene. These animations include flashback scenes of your time with your wife Angel every time you find an object that belongs to her. As you can imagine, these scenes draw you in and provide you with a vested interest in how the story unfolds. One thing missing from this game though is voice-acting. But considering how bad the voice-acting is in some of the other hidden object games, not having voices might not be a bad thing…
This game does not boast very complex gameplay or puzzles, but instead wows you with a story that flows as you experience the game. The premise revolves around the supernatural and a missing persons mystery theme, and you will like it if you liked similar games such as Mystery Case Files: Dire Grove or Edgar Allan Poe’s The Black Cat. The basic version of the game is not out yet, but you can get the Collector’s Edition of the PC game which includes exclusive content such as a bonus chapter, new puzzles and more.
You can read more about Twisted Lands: Shadow Town at http://www.hidden-puzzles.com/twisted-lands-st.html
About the Author:
Steven maintains the hidden object game review website at http://www.hidden-puzzles.com/ – a website devoted to the most popular hidden object and puzzle games. You can read game reviews, download and play them online.