Most hidden object games remind me of half the challenge of old-school point & click adventure games: Collect everything on the screen that isn’t nailed down. What hidden object games usually lack to make up the other half of point & click adventure games is actually using those found knick-knacks for anything beyond finishing a checklist before proceeding to the next cluttered stage. So I was delighted to see that G5 Games’ latest hidden object game Red Crow Mysteries: Legion was a legion composed of hidden object gameplay, point & click adventure game challenges, and some pretty fun puzzles to boot.
Red Crow Mysteries: Legion challenges you to explore the environment to find various objects like any hidden object game. Like point & click adventure games, you’ll sometimes need to click objects onto the environment or combine objects to open new areas or pick up inaccessible objects. And during the exploration, you’ll find a variety of brain teaser puzzles that usually require found objects to make them work before you think your way through them.
For the most part, the gameplay of Red Crow Mysteries: Legion feels natural. Every hidden object has a use that follows human logic. I won’t find myself combining a rubber band with a statue’s horns to create a slingshot to knock down a bird’s nest when I can just throw a rock at it. Some of the environments hide locations really well and I found myself waiting for the hint to tell me what I’m supposed to look at so I could continue. The puzzles offer a variety of challenge such as tower stacking or jigsaw puzzles. It’s quite intuitive to make out the puzzle mechanics to see what’s missing before digging through inventory for the object(s) that will make them work. A hint system that subtly guides you rather than outright solves the puzzle for you would have been preferred.
Game wise, it’s a very nice game to start and progress through while killing time as is expected of casual game.
The story that ties all of the great puzzles is the weakness of Red Crow Mysteries: Legion. There’s a threat of Legion plaguing mankind and the story makes out that you’re on a desperate race to stop him and solving the puzzles will prove your skills. But the stakes never raise and the solving the puzzles just gets you to the next stage. The ending is no battle of wits against Legion. Instead, it’s just another puzzle that I solved accidentally followed by a cinematic that doesn’t resolve a thing–not that Legion was doing anything that needed resolving in the first place.
Red Crow Mysteries: Legion is a case where the sum of the parts is greater than the whole. Had the game dumped the Legion premise, I’d be content solving a variety of puzzles to kill time while waiting for my car to be fixed. With the story, it’s like getting my car back after hours of waiting only to see that all the mechanic did was put duct tape over the engine.