Earlier this week we reviewed The Serpent of Isis, a new hidden object puzzle game, and this week, we’ve got another new offering from Big Fish Games: Flux Family Secrets – The Ripple Effect, which is another well-crafted hidden object game combining puzzles, mystery, and adventure.
In Flux Family Mysteries, you play Jesse, a lost young woman who doesn’t know who she is or where she belongs in the world. She’s spent countless years trying to piece together her past, with only an old baby photo to go on. In her desperate search to uncover her origins, she encounters a strange woman who claims to be able to help, and embarks on a journey to a mysterious mansion filled with dark, enigmatic characters. You and Jesse must explore the mansion and complete a series of tasks to unlock a huge family secret that has been kept hidden for centuries – Jesse is from a long line of time travelers, and now she has to fulfill her destiny and journey through time to fix various errors and save the world.
The game begins as many others in this genre do, with a hunt to find an array of objects hidden around the room. However, you will find that this one is quite unique, as you are tasked to find pieces of items hidden around the room, and doing so will make them whole again. For example, my first task was to put together a teapot, by collecting three different pieces, which I did by finding them in the environment and tapping on them.
There’s a great tutorial system that takes you through how to use all of the various features in the game. You create items, and then use them from your inventory on other items in the environment, by dragging the item in your inventory to the object you want to use it with. Controls for these games are all similar, and if you’ve played another hidden object game, you’ll know exactly what to do. Oftentimes, you will need to travel through multiple time periods (areas in each level) to solve all of the puzzles and find all of the items.
Objects in your inventory are used in the environment to solve various puzzles and to uncover new objects. I used the teapot I had constructed to put out a fire, allowing me to find another item to pick up. If an item can be used somewhere, a spot in the game will sparkle, so there’s never any confusion about where items can be used in the environment. The controls are intuitive and easy to use, as is common with games by Big Fish Games. These guys know how to make a great user interface.
You won’t find a text based list of items to look for, which is different than most other hidden object games. Instead, you have a visual list of items to find, making Flux Family Secrets stand out from a sea of similar games. The visual list was a welcome change and did not make the game any simpler, due to the complexity of the objects to be found. It’s a lot harder to find three hidden pieces of a clock rather than just “a clock.”
To take a closer look at the environment, just pinch to zoom in and out, and slide your finger to move around the room. This game allows you to zoom in quite a bit further than most games, which is necessary for finding such well-hidden objects. I found Flux Family Secrets to be more difficult than your average hidden object game, because the objects are very subtly concealed. This game will definitely offer a significant challenge to veteran and new players alike, but that’s a good thing – it’s nice to have to put some real thought into a game. This is less of a hidden object game and more of a find what doesn’t belong type of game.
Thanks to plenty of innovative mini games, gameplay never becomes repetitive or frustrating. Some of the mini games include: opening a combination lock with a stethoscope, a marble bouncing game, a Tap Tap Revolution style music game, lock picking, and tic tac toe. Plus many, many others, of course. All of the mini games come with instructions – just tap the question mark in the corner. If you’re having trouble finding the solution to a mini game, you can always skip them, but beware, doing so adds 20 minutes to your game time.
If you can’t find an item or figure out the next step in a puzzle, hints are available. Hints will refill over time, and each hint you use will add a minute to your game time. As in most hidden object games, randomly tapping will also add a minute to your game time.
The graphics in the game are crisp, colorful, and clear. It’s a delight to play, and the story line is clever and interesting. There are 10 chapters, more than 20 mini games, and tons of locations to explore across time. If you’re looking for a challenge, this hidden object game is definitely atypical and will take some work to complete. This is another solid offering from Big Fish Games that won’t leave you disappointed.
What I liked: The complex puzzles and hidden object scenes. It took me quite awhile to solve some of them without using hints.
What I didn’t like: Sometimes scrolling through the environment was registered as tapping on an item, and I received penalty time even though I hadn’t actually tapped on anything. I had trouble with some of the mini games, particularly one of the combination lock ones that kept resetting even though I wasn’t spinning it fast at all.
To buy or not to buy: If you like puzzle games, this is a good choice. It’s difficult but not too difficult, has fantastic graphics and an intriguing storyline. Big Fish’s hidden object puzzle games really shine on the iPad, especially this one with its unique game play and fun mini games.
- App Name: Flux Family Secrets – The Ripple Effect HD
- Version Reviewed: 1.0
- Category: Games
- Developer: Big Fish Games, Inc
- Price: Free to try, $4.99 to buy.