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Mystery Case Files: Dire Grove, Sacred Grove - Review

Back in 2009, Mystery Case Files: Dire Gorve was released to rave reviews and skyrocket sales – even until today, it remained as one of the most successful and most loved installment in this renowned HOPA franchise. Dire Grove, Sacred Grove is the continuation of that famous game; even though, this time, it was developed by Elephant Games not Big Fish Studios.



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Name: Mystery Case Files: Dire Grove, Sacred Grove Collector's Edition
Release Date: 26 November 2014
Developer: Elephant Games

Dire Grove is perhaps in its direst state yet. Rumor has it that the Mistwalkers are responsible for the severely cold weather and animal attacks Dire Grove is experiencing. Join the hunters of Dire Grove as you learn the dark secrets of the Mistwalkers and find out who is the actual man behind it all! It is a common fact that Mystery Case Files games have some of the most entertaining storylines available in the casual games market. The story in Dire Grove, Sacred Grove is indeed not a disappointment; but while it is captivating and suspenseful all the same, it lacks the complexity and creepy factor that make this long-standing franchise famous to this day.

Let us take a note that Dire Grove, Sacred Grove is not the first Mystery Case Files game that is developed by Elephant Games. In fact, last year’s Fate’s Carnival was also developed by this talented developer. Nonetheless, as close as Elephant has gotten to the MCF: Dire Grove level, this sequel is no match for its predecessor.

If we look at Dire Grove, Sacred Grove as a standalone game, not as a follow-up to what was the pinnacle of HOPA, then we will be extremely impressed by the quality of the game. The production of Dire Groe, Sacred Grove is definitely huge – from mind-blowing visuals and stunning special effects, to top notch soundtracks and epic cutscenes. On the other hand, that sense of creepiness and mysteries that the first Dire Grove game had are basically nowhere to be seen in this sequel.

Regardless of that, we did enjoy every slightest bit of this amazing game. The gameplay flows very well and the tasks integrate well with the storyline. Despite the lack of diary, the game made for that with a well-thoughout investigaton board where you can collect clues and deduce conclusions about the situation. All the other basic features are also present, a beautiful jump-map, nice array of achievements, two sets of collectibles and 5 difficulty settings for instance.

There is a perfect balance between hidden object scenes and puzzles in this eleventh Mystery Case Files game. We thought that while the hidden object scenes are exquisitely made and very entertaining, they are a little bit too simple for experienced players like us. In contrast, the puzzles did give us some head-scratching moments. Our favorite Super Puzzles are also included in the game, these are the real challenges.

Thanks to these difficult puzzles, Dire Grove, Sacred Grove is a satisfyingly long game. The main game alone took us around 4 and a half hours to complete; plus around 50 minutes from each of the two bonus gameplays (Bonus Chapter and Alternate Ending). Other extras are nothing hype about, all listed in the checklist below.

Getting on the same level as the first Dire Grove game is an arguably impossible task. However, as an individual game, Dire Grove, Sacred Grove, is a HOPA of supreme quality and with jaw-dropping production – certainly a contender for the best game of the year.

Graphics: 5/5 Stars
Sound: 4.5/5 Stars
Story: 4/5 Stars
Originality: 4/5 Stars
Gameplay: 4.5/5 Stars
Puzzles: 4.5/5 Stars
Control and Navigation: 4.5/5 Stars

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