Name: Off the Record: Linden Shades Collector's Edition
Release Date: 09 June 2013
Developer: Eipix Entertainment
We can't believe we say this but we are actually quite happy to see another orphanage game comes up. Well, there was a time in the past few years where the abandoned orphanage theme has been overdone but it has been quite a while now since the last orphanage game. Do not let the theme put you off because Off the Record has one of the most intriguing story in a HOPA!
Off the Record: Linden Shades opened up with an anticipating cutscene containing live actors; we would not say that these actors are the best but they did their job very well done. Despite the fact that the cutscenes in the game featured live actors; the game itself does not. Instead, it features animated characters which look very similar to the actors in the cutscene - very smart! The graphics in Off the Record are plain awesomeness but surely will not satisfy everyone. All locations are very well done with a gigantic amount of details and they look very real too - some might think that the graphics are outdated and dull but we think that they suit the game very well.
We have to also give another round of applause to the team behind the music; we believe, it is Eipix's sister company "Xtruist Audio" because they did a wonderful job! Off the Record has some really suspenseful music score and they do not play in short loop or feel at all repetitive! As for the story; it is very suspenseful as well. It really feels like you are the detective trying to solve the case (although your role is the journalist); on the way you can also collect cassette tapes which reveal the story bit by bit. Off the Record: Linden Shades is worth getting just for the story alone.
There are plenty of Hidden Object scene to search through but luckily, most of the scenes only required you to play once and each scene includes many interactions; many scenes even include pretty nice mini-puzzles for you to enjoy. Moving on to the puzzles; they might not be entirely fresh but they feel as if they are - not too easy not too hard.
Furthermore, the developers did not failed to include an interactive map. It shows you where you can go next as well as allowed you to jump right through it. The hint and skip button reload at a reasonable speed depends on which difficulty level you have chosen.
Nevertheless, Off the Record is not a flawless game. The gameplay is extremely easy even if you choose the Insane mode (most difficult mode). It is pretty straightforward and somewhat linear and all the interactions and tasks are what we have expected. Surprisingly, despite its simplicity - Off the Record is not a short game. It is likely to take you 3 hours or more to complete the game even if you are fast players added with around 50 minutes of good Bonus gameplay.
Off the Record: Linden Shades has a ton of Extr features to offer in the Collector's Edition. Firstly, the game includes countless collectibles from 37 crayons, 12 letters to 16 toys. There are also over 20 achievements in which many of them focus around Hidden Object scenes. all the traditional extras are here; Art, Conept Art, Wallpapaers, Strategy Guide, Music, replayable cut-scenes, replayable HOS and Puzzles. There are few special behind-the-scenes Extras too such as the photo short and the fun-to-watch Making Of video.
Players who seek for challenges might be disappointed with Off the Record but we want to at least give it a try. Off the Record: Linden Shades is an exciting, intriguing and indeed entertaining game to play with hooking story, amazing graphics and a bunch of Extras that will not make you regret purchasing the Collector's Edition.
Graphics: 4.5/5 Stars
Sound: 5/5 Stars
Story: 4.5/5 Stars
Originality: 4/5 Stars
Originality: 4/5 Stars
Gameplay: 3.5/5 Stars
Puzzles: 4.5/5 Stars
Control and Navigation: 5/5 Stars
Fun Factor: 5/5 Stars
Extras: 5/5 Stars
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