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Mystery Case Files: MillionHeir
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this is a game full of visual observation puzzles, like those found in Where's Waldo or I Spy books. There is also a story mode that creates a mystery around the disappearance of an eccentric millionaire and his possible death. This possible death reference warranted a descriptor from the ESRB for "Violent References" but no violence is shown or described. This game expands to the DS platform, the very popular Mystery Case Files find-the-hidden-object games, which are downloadable on the computer.
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What's it about?
From the picture puzzles in Highlights magazine to Where's Waldo books, kids have always loved perusing crowded pictures to find hidden objects. Now they can do it on their Nintendo DS in a game called MYSTERY CASE FILES: MILLIONHEIR. Players take on the role of a detective as they solve hidden pictures puzzles to earn clues to the whereabouts of missing millionaire Phil T. Rich.
Players can access the hidden pictures puzzles from either the Single or Multiplayer mode. In the more robust Single player mode, you can work through the puzzles as part of a mystery story or approach them randomly. In the story mode, you investigate people who knew the missing millionaire and scrutinize their environments for missing objects. The top screen will provide you a list of objects to find, while the bottom screen contains the picture which you study to locate and then tap on the missing objects so as to cross them off the list. Some of the clues can be tricky – when told to find \"pepper,\" is it the spice or the veggie?
Is it any good?
Combining hidden picture puzzles with a mystery theme works well in Mystery Case Files: MillionHeir. Because you earn clues by doing the puzzles, the mystery plot motivates you to play. Plus the mystery can be played on two levels of difficulty. As a rookie detective, you have unlimited time to find the hidden objects and can get numerous hints when stuck. On the Detective level, your time is limited and there are fewer hints available. Unfortunately, when you find the hidden objects, they don't directly relate to the mystery, rather the in-game's Crime Computer takes the objects and then presents you with the clues.
Even with this crime-solving disconnect, the game sustains your interest with many extras that add pizzazz. Ambient music accompanies the puzzles and appropriately sets a tone for the scene you are studying. High resolution graphics appear so it is easy to study the details. Plus the I Spy-type puzzles vary by adding gadgets and gimmicks. For example, sometimes your stylus turns into an X-ray machine allowing you to see inside another object. At other times, you must blow on the DS microphone to make something blocking your view move away. There are even mini-puzzles including jigsaws and find-the-differences.
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