Big Fish Games specializes in fun and interesting hidden object puzzle games that all have intriguing and in-depth story lines. The Serpent of Isis, Big Fish Games latest offering, is no exception. This is another must have puzzle game for lovers of this genre, with three great elements in one: mystery, adventure, and plenty of hidden object puzzles.
Far beneath the surface of the sand in Egypt lies unimaginable treasure, forever luring explorers and adventurers into unending catacombs below the ancient pyramids. Your grandfather was a famous explorer, and the Serpent of Isis was his holy grail. He found his treasure, but it was cruelly ripped from his hands shortly after by thieves, and now, countless years later, you receive a mysterious letter involving the whereabouts of the missing Serpent of Isis. The goal in the game is to once again resume your grandfather’s quest and find the Serpent of Isis, searching all across the world to recover it and get vengeance on the people who stole it from him. But beware, things may not be as they seem.
The game starts when you open the letter and find that there are five people to track down on a train. To begin, you go through a hidden object game to pack your things and get ready, where you are given a list of items on the left hand side of the screen and you must find each one and tap it. There is a time limit to find all of the objects in each level, but the game can also be played in relaxed mode with no time limit. I chose to play with the time limit and while I never ran out of time, it did end up close once or twice, when I ended a level with less than ten minutes remaining. If you run out of time, you will have to restart the entire chapter, which could certainly be frustrating because some of the chapters are an hour long.
Some of the items that you find during the hidden object scenes are stored in your inventory for later use in the environment, while others are just part of the puzzle. For example, you may find a key that doesn’t have a use in the scene you’re in, but it will come in handy for a different area. To use items in your inventory with items in the world, you simply drag the item you want to use out of your inventory to the other item, and if they can be used together, an action will occur. If they can’t, the item will return to your inventory. If you’re having trouble finding things, a pinch zooms the screen in and out. At times, you also need to combine things in your inventory, which is just as simple. For example, to power my flashlight, I had to drag a battery in the inventory onto the flashlight, which combines the items if they are able to be combined. Make sure you don’t do too much random tapping, because when you tap too much on items that aren’t on your hidden object list, you will lose 30 seconds of time.
The controls are very intuitive and easy to figure out, aside from the occasional environmental puzzle. The next step wasn’t always obvious to me, especially in the beginning when I had a room full of random objects and some obscure thing in my inventory. If you drag your finger across a scene, occasionally items will have a white glow. This means it’s a further puzzle to solve, usually with an item that is in your inventory.
That first train scene is generally a pattern the entire game will follow: a steady series of hidden object scenes. However, there are several variations (such as finding a whole bunch of coins, or tea cups in a scene), and there are also several fun and challenging mini games to play that successfully break up the monotony of searching for objects. These games range from putting puzzles together to doing simple math to figure out combinations. There are a lot of mini games and they never feel repetitive like they can in some other games of this type. As the game progresses, you will be on a train riding around various parts of Europe, searching for all the clues and pieces of the Serpent of Isis. It’s a fun story that was quick enough to follow along with, and there wasn’t too much dialogue or too many cutscenes. The story to gameplay ratio was perfect – it kept me interested in my quest and eager to see what happened next without bogging down gameplay.
Puzzle wise, Serpent of Isis is a little tougher than some other hidden object games. There are a lot of objects to find and scenes are crowded. Luckily, if you get stuck, there’s plenty of access to hints that can get you through it, so you’re never overly frustrated with a particular puzzle or lost object. Red hints point you in the direction of a hidden object, and blue hints tell you the next step in your quest. During mini games you can’t use hints, but you can skip some games if you find them frustrating, though you will lose 20 minutes of your game time if you skip a mini game. As another part of the story, you have five suspect cards (these are the people who stole the Serpent of Isis) and on each suspect card, it lists some information about them, including their favorite things. Throughout the game, if you keep a lookout for these items, like fortune cookies and cigars, you will gain an additional hint every time one of them is found. If you find all of a suspect’s favorite items, you gain additional game time and three hints.
There are no achievements to be had, but there is still a lot of replay value here. Each time you play, the objects you are tasked to find are different, though the story line remains the same. At the end, you’re given the time it took you to beat it, and beating your best score is always an enticing prospect. It took me just under five hours to finish, and I made liberal use of the hints when looking for items, so there is definitely a lot of gameplay here.
I am quite a fan of hidden object puzzle games of this type, and of Big Fish Games in general. I’ve played quite a few, including Drawn, Haunted Manor, and Azada, and The Serpent of Isis is absolutely one of the best. If this is a genre you like, this is a must download game. If you’ve never played a hidden object game, then this is an excellent one to try, both for the story line and the gameplay.
What I liked: I liked the challenge of this game, coupled with an intriguing storyline that kept me interested. The puzzles were tough without being too frustrating, and the hidden object scenes were definitely harder and more involved than others in this genre, which really held my attention. I couldn’t put this game down!
What I didn’t like: At times the scenes were a bit too dark and it was difficult to find tiny items. The graphics are great, but not ultra-crisp, which led to some frustrated over-tapping at times when I couldn’t tell what something was when I zoomed in.
To buy or not to buy: Most of the Big Fish Games have a high rating in the App Store for a reason – they’re all great games. The Serpent of Isis is a great new addition to Big Fish’s repertoire and this is the perfect time to get it, since it’s currently 50% off.
- App Name: The Serpent of Isis HD
- Version Reviewed: 1.0.0
- Category: Games
- Developer: Big Fish Games, Inc
- Price: Free to try, $4.99 to buy.