Review Date: October 25, 2010
Developer: Prime Games, Daedalic Entertainment
Publisher: Legacy Games
Genre: Hidden Object
It's a story that's been told a thousand times before, but that hasn't stopped Legacy Games from revisiting the tale of Robin Hood and his merry men once again. But this is a much more lighthearted take on the story, and as such the game itself is also fairly easy going. The result is a simple, but enjoyable HOG, that will have you solving puzzles as much as finding objects.
Stealing From The Rich
The game tells the familiar tale of Robin Hood who, upon returning to England, finds things to be much different than when he left. The king is in prison and the sheriff has taken charge, and is subjecting the citizens to frequent and extremely hight taxes. You'll also get to see how Robin meets up with his gang of merry men, though the majority of the story seems to focus on Robin's relationship with Maid Marian. Over the course of the game Robin will be arrested, chased, and even be forced to disrupt a wedding ceremony. If you've heard the story before, as most of us have, there aren't any surprises, though the ending does feel a little forced. Still, it's a lighthearted tale with some fun writing.
Like the story, the hidden object portions of the game are well done if not particularly imaginative. This is about as stripped down a HOG as you're bound to find. You're presented with a list of objects to find and there's a recharging hint system and, well, that's about it. For the most part the object finding isn't too taxing, though at certain points it can get frustrating thanks to the game's insistence on having you find tiny objects like coins, buttons, and marbles. Occasionally the art also makes it difficult to discern one object from another: finding twigs and branches in a forest full of trees is certainly no easy task.
And Giving To The Poor
But you'll only actually be spending about half of your time finding objects in Robin Hood. The rest will be spent solving puzzles and playing mini-games. There's your usual fair, like memory and spot the difference games, but Robin Hood also mixes things up with a number of increasingly challenging logic puzzles. You'll have to do everything from dividing up money evenly to memorizing routes on a map. Some of these puzzles are actually pretty challenging, though you do have the option to skip most of them with no penalty at all. And you may want to go this route for at least a few, as some of the puzzles don't include clear directions, making it difficult to figure out just what you need to do. There's also a timed target shooting game, though this too can be skipped should you choose to.
Like the rest of the game, the visuals are pleasant if unremarkable. However, while the visuals are nice to look at, the hand painted look can occasionally make it appear as though objects are blending together, making it difficult to tell one from the other. This only happens in a few instances, but it can be very frustrating, even with the built-in hint system to help you. Robin Hood consists entirely of still scenes, which is fine for the most part, but does provide a few awkward moments. Namely, whenever any action is supposed to be happening in the game, the screen simply shakes as a way of showing that a fight or some other action has taken place. It's a poor substitute for actual animation and really stands out.
The Bottom Line
If you're simply in the market for an easy and pleasant way to spend an afternoon, Robin Hood is a good choice. The hint system and skippable puzzles make it a game that's short on frustration, making for a very easy playthrough. But this also means that, aside from a few puzzles, it doesn't provide much in the way of a challenge and certainly doesn't bring any new or interesting gameplay ideas. It's essentially the perfect incarnation of an "average" HOG: it's enjoyable while it lasts, but it's also largely forgettable.