Review Date: June 7, 2010
Developer: Boomzap Entertainment
Publisher: Boomzap Entertainment
Genre: Hidden Object
If you're in the mood for a hidden object game with some down home, country flavor, look no further than Antique Road Trip USA. While it doesn't do much new that HOG fans haven't already seen before, it's a solid experience that, if nothing else, provides a new setting that hasn't been explored much by the genre.
We're Going On A Road Trip
Based on the title, it's easy to assume that Antique Road Trip USA has something to do with a similarly titled television show. Instead, the game tells the story of newlyweds Grace and James and their overflowing antique collection. The pair decides to turn their collection into a business, the only problem is they need to raise some money first. And so begins their cross country road trip, which takes them all over the USA as they help out their friends and fellow antique lovers in an attempt to raise the money needed to open the store.
Of course, helping friends in a HOG means lots of finding hidden objects and playing mini-games. Because of the unique set-up, Antique Road Trip USA is able to put a few unique spins on the traditional formula. Instead of just being given a list of random objects to find, you'll have a list of customers, each of whom is looking for a specific item. In some levels the customers will tell you exactly what they're looking for, while in others they'll give you three hints and you have to figure out what it is they want. The hints are sometimes much too vague, but they do help switch up the pace, forcing you actually think about what it is you're looking for.
Find Objects, Make Money
To help break up the object finding, the game is also flush with mini-games. Unfortunately, while the mini-games are plentiful, they're also about as generic as possible. There are spot the difference, memory, and, of course, the ever present "put back together this ripped piece of paper" games. As always, the mini-games are a great way to switch up the pace, but it would be nice if there was a little more variety and imagination put into them.
As you complete both the HOG sections and the mini-games you'll earn cash, which can then be used to spruce up Grace and James' dream store. You can purchase everything from new countertops to decorative plants and clocks, and there are varying levels of quality, which, naturally, cost varying amounts of money. To start you'll only be able to upgrade a few parts of the store but as you progress more and more options will open up. It's a small addition to the game, but it's welcome. Not only does it offer some variety in the gameplay, but it also makes it feel as though you're actually finishing levels for a reason. In this case, to earn money to fix up the shop.
The Bottom Line
Really, the major factor that will decide if Antique Road Trip USA will appeal to you is how you feel about the setting. Everything about the game is dripping in country fried flavor, from the various locations you'll visit to the soundtrack. In terms of gameplay there isn't really much to differentiate the game from the glut of similar titles already on the market aside from its setting. It's a solid experience with nice production values and a few minor issues, it's just too bad it isn't a more memorable one.