Preview Date: January 30, 2010
Developer: Triple Hippo Studios
Genre: Hidden Object Game
Release Date: To Be Announced
For the most part, hidden-object games all feel pretty similar. There are different themes and stories, and various gameplay tweaks that developers throw in to try and spice things up, but the actual game always revolves around spotting hard-to-find objects amongst a mess of other objects. It's a tried-and-true formula that has worked well across numerous games. And The Tarot's Misfortune doesn't mess with it.
After playing the game's demo, which consists of the first three chapters, it's clear that The Tarot's Misfortune is more of a refinement on the genre than any sort of revolution. But what it does, it does quite well. The most striking aspect of the game is its fantastic art design, as all of the still images are absolutely gorgeous and packed with detail. They also have a layer of depth to them that is missing from most HOGs; as objects in the foreground differentiate themselves from the background when you move side to side.
This aspect doesn't just make the game look better, but it also comes into play during the actual object finding. Certain objects will be hidden by the foreground, only visible when you shift your perspective. This helps break up the monotony of simply staring at a still screen for hours on end looking for that ever elusive last purple tarot card.
The rest of the demo is pretty straight forward: there's a hint system that (rather quickly) recharges over time and some of the items you collect are used to solve simple puzzles throughout the game. The game also lets you switch back and forth between several rooms at once, so, if you get stuck trying on a specific object, you can leave it for a bit and come back after completing other rooms. It's a nice touch that helps alleviate some of the frustrations inherent to the genre.
Based on the hour or so long demo, it seems pretty clear that The Tarot's Misfortune isn't reinventing the wheel, but it is making it look quite good. In a genre that's so dependent on players staring closely at the screen, looks count for a lot, and The Tarot's Misfortune definitely looks great. And with what look to be some pretty solid gameplay mechanics behind it, the game should be on the radar of all HOG fans out there.