You do the voodoo!
There are lots of â€˜find the objectâ€™ games out there, some good some bad. There are lots of â€˜follow the clues and solve puzzlesâ€™ games out there and again they vary from the delightfully taxing to the simply mundane. Recently, there have been a whole host of hybrid games combining puzzles, mysterious storylines and I-Spy elements and Deadtime Stories is one of the best!
After being introduced to the leading characters grave, the unfortunate tale of voodoo woman Jessie Bodeen unfolds as you begin to explore your lush and fantastically vivid surroundings. Beautiful gothic graphics full of bright little touches, combined with painted cut scenes that, although basic, do help the overall flow and takes you to the heart of New Orleans as you try to piece together the story and learn what happened to Jessie and those around her. The aim is to learn the recipes and collect the items needed to recreate voodoo spells used by Jessie â€“ with each new spell learnt, new sections of the story are revealed.
Starting in her garden, you can pick up items that you might find useful later on or explore in detail sections of the land simply by clicking the mouse button. The cursor indicates areas you can interact with, yet somehow this isnâ€™t boring or monotonous as the mixed up, different elements of the game keep it interesting. One minute you are working out how to solve clues and word games or are combining items to unlock another area, the next you are hunting down hidden items for your next spell or puzzle. Warning, there will be at least one item each time that you spend ages and ages looking for â€“ Iâ€™m not kidding, one of the items was an ant (itâ€™s tiny, who could have ever found that?) though my absolute favourite was a chameleonâ€¦ seriously! There is a hint jar for those of you without the patience or stamina but thatâ€™s for wimps only. A lot of care and attention has gone in to how the objects have been integrated into the scenes, whilst many of the other puzzles are innovative or quirky. The cast do a good job with the New Orleans accent and the soundtrack is spooky jazz.
There are four areas of New Orleans to travel to. Though there is some depth to these areas, you do have to revisit them during the game in order to find new objects and I would have preferred more locations, if only to see more of the games excellent scenery. Although quite linear with a gentle pace, there are a few twists in the sometimes sinister plot to give food for thought and I guess my only real criticism would be that it is a really short game (you can complete it in an afternoon). But the good news is, there is scope for many more dreadful graveyard tales to be told and I hope the collection of Deadtime Stories continues to grow.
Deadtime Stories is available on the PC from I-play.