After having found success with the publisher's previous Free-to-Play Hidden Object games, G5 has launched another F2P title "Hidden City: Mystery of Shadows"; just that this one is perhaps, a little too greedy.
Name: Hidden City: Mystery of Shadows
Release Date: 20 February 2014
Developer: AB Games/G5 Entertainment
You take on the role of a young detective investigate in a small, but cursed city. Your friend has disappeared in the black smoke, you must find clues, gather evidence and solve this supernatural case. The base story of Hidden City is nothing particularly exciting but at least this F2P has something to play for. There are many characters to meet, each which will offer you not-so-generous rewards in exchange for you completing a range of tasks.
Let's move out from the flaws for now because Hidden City has some nice aspects as well. The visual aspect of the game is very impressive, the map looks stunningly beautiful and detailed, the searching scenes are not too messy and the characters look really pleasant; some with extravagant costumes. The music is there to entertain, fits the mood perfectly and not at all intrusive. Plus, there are even voice overs in the expertly done cutscenes which is unexpected from a F2P game.
The concept of the game is great if not for the game's In-App Purchases. Each hidden object scene has varied searching modes which is fine although some of the objects are too tiny or the areas are a little too dark. There are no puzzles in Hidden City, instead, mini-games which involve fighting off devils and gargoyles are included. These mini-games are nothing extraordinary but they act as nice breaks from all the searching scenes - they are certainly not challenging to play but they do challenge your energy meter. This leads us to the major downfall of Hidden City, the game's annoying energy bar. Each time you search through a scene, your energy decreased, at a significant amount which is really frustrating since your energy meter can only fill up to a certain amount which is far too little considering how much each hidden object scene and mini game costs.
Furthermore, the in-app purchases in Hidden City are super mean. We constantly feel forced to buy in-app items using real money because nearly all aspects of the game involve spending. As mentioned, some of the hidden object scenes are very difficult and normally when we cannot find an object, we use 'hint'. In Hidden City, there are many hint types available but they come with limited amount so if you have no hints left, they do not recharge but themselves! Luckily, the game featured a daily reward system which reduce the pain of this obstacle slightly.
Hidden City: Mystery of Shadows is an example of an acquisitive F2P game which failed because of its in-app system; even its great sights and neat concept cannot save it.
Graphics: 4/5 Stars
Sound: 4/5 Stars
Gameplay: 3.5/5 Stars
Originality: 3/5 Stars
Control and Navigation: 4/5 Stars
In-App Purchase: 2.5/5 Stars
In-App Purchase: 2.5/5 Stars
Fun Factor: 3/5 Stars
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