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Game Info:

Time Mysteries: Inheritance - Remastered
Developed by: Artifex Mundi
Published by: Artifex Mundi
Released: October 6, 2014
Available on: Amazon Kindle, Android, BlackBerry, iOS, Mac OS X, Windows, Windows Phone
Genre: Puzzle / hidden object
Number of players: 1
Price: $9.99 (Steam), $4.99 (Full version – Amazon, Google Play), $3.99 (full version – iOS), Free demo for portable devices

Hidden object games have been around for almost as long as I can remember. One particular franchise I remember was called "I Spy," and are books that my nieces, nephews and my own children have enjoyed. It should come as little surprise that the simple concept also has made its way into video game formats. Among those that have made a name for themselves, Artifex Mundi is one of the preeminent successes, with games that provide interesting challenges, intriguing storylines and a wonderful delivery system.

Unfortunately, this game is not one of them.

The game focuses on hidden object-type puzzles. Basically, the bulk of the game shows you a scene and a list of objects you need to discover, like an umbrella or three acorns. When you find all the objects you can move on with the story. If you don't like playing hidden object games you can play an alternative, match-three style game instead. Interspersed between the hidden object puzzles are other games, such as "find the difference" challenges or jigsaw puzzle brain-teasers.

Time Mysteries: Inheritance - Remastered
Highlights:

Strong Points: Nice variety of puzzles
Weak Points: Hideous animations; poor voice acting; dull plot
Moral Warnings: Possible magic use; minor occult references; implied violence

Although the graphics are passable for these, the animation between the puzzles is pretty bad – and delve into hideous territory for those instances where characters speak. The faces almost appear as if they were pasted onto Silly Putty, and are stretched and squished to give the illusion of movement. The voice acting is sub-par as well, with some of the lines delivered without enthusiasm, and others excessively hammy. The storyline is somewhat nonsensical, too – for some reason, the main character needs to collect seven different rings, scattered through time, in order to find her father. With the help of a shattered crystal ball – unoriginally named "Ball" - she uses the time travel technology to meet with an assortment of other people, all of whom require her to solve various puzzles before telling her anything useful. 

In the puzzles themselves, some of the hidden object games have an odd lighting element where the screen flickers as if the scene is illuminated by a poorly-wired fluorescent light. This doesn't occur with all the hidden object games, so this is intentional. Some of the hidden objects are poorly hidden as well, with shadows or pixellated edges that make them stand out easily against the background. Other than that, the puzzles are entertaining, if oddly placed. There is a nice variety of challenges, and it's possible to skip them after waiting a short time, if the player is so inclined. However, the puzzles each only have one solution, so once you've completed them, there isn't much reason to play the game again.

 

Time Mysteries: Inheritance - Remastered
Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 60%
Gameplay - 11/20
Graphics - 4/10
Sound - 5/10
Stability - 5/5
Controls - 5/5

Morality Score - 92%
Violence - 9/10
Language - 10/10
Sexual Content - 10/10
Occult/Supernatural - 7/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 10/10

On the moral front, there isn't too much to be concerned about. There is some implied violence at the beginning, but nothing that is really shown. The rings are possibly magic, but Ball gives the impression that it is actually a technology that is advanced far beyond the understanding of our modern-day intelligence. There are instances of Ouija boards, tarot cards and a séance as well – although the latter is proven to be a hoax thanks to a hidden room. There are a few instances of pentagrams as small background elements, and a pentagram-like shape is manipulated in a couple of the later puzzles. Finally, in one challenge you need to assist a witch with a magic spell, although again it's vague as to if this is really magic, or simply advanced technology.

If going by the puzzles alone, it's easy to see why Artifex Mundi has made such a reputation for themselves in this genre. Coupled with the story and the hideous animations, though, it's sheer luck that it even got off the ground. Fortunately, their later games are presented much better. Time Mysteries: Inheritance is one of their first games (released in 2010), and it shows. It's disappointing that, with this "remastered version," that they didn't clean up their earlier mistakes and make this game look like their later installments. The portable versions have a free demo available, so it's good to try before you buy. But if you're looking for an entertaining hidden object / puzzle game, it might be best to pass on this one.

 

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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