Review Date: May 26, 2010
Developer: BlitPop Games
Publisher: Alawar Entertainment
Genre: Hidden Object
When a gang of international art thieves starts robbing famous museums around the world, you'll definitely want some seasoned investigators on the job. Or, a recent art school grad. That's the premise of Grace's Quest, a new hidden object game in which the titular Grace travels all over Europe in search of both the art thieves and her kidnapped best friend. It's a solid and charming adventure that HOG fans shouldn't miss.
Find Objects, Catch A Thief
The game begins when Grace decides to head off to Paris to visit her friend and former classmate Chloe. The two head off to the Louvre, when disaster strikes. Not only do thieves somehow manage to break in to the museum and steal the Mona Lisa, but they also kidnap Chloe in the process. Grace decides to join forces with an Interpol agent in order to help find her friend. The adventure will take her to famous museums across Europe, from Madrid to London to Moscow.
Grace's Quest is set-up like a fairly traditional hidden object game, moving you from scene to scene finding objects and playing mini-games. There are also short, but well done, animated cut scenes that help further along the story. The hidden object sections are pretty standard, giving you a list of things that need to be found in order to move on. Strangely, this list continues to grow as you find things, frequently adding additional items to find just as you think you're done. It's a bizarre system and can be a little frustrating.
But for the most part these sections are very well done, and even introduce some cool new features. Chief among them is the ability to hover your mouse over the name of what you need to find in order to see a silhouette of what it looks like. This helps a great deal, as often text alone isn't enough to describe what you need to find. A lot of what you'll be finding are objects you'll actually be using, such as keys and tools. These elements help make the object finding feel much more interactive.
Mixing Up The Action
In addition to the HOG sections, Grace's Quest also has a heavy emphasis on puzzles and mini-games. There is at least one in each section, and in some cases there are several. Some of the mini games are dead simple, requiring nothing more than a few clicks to cut through rope or pop a balloon, while others are much more in-depth, such as searching for fingerprints with a magnifying glass or using an x-ray machine to search through bags. All of the mini-games can be skipped if you want though, so long as you wait long enough.
The game sports a great cartoon visual style to compliment its story and gameplay, and is very reminiscent of popular shows like Totally Spies. The characters especially look great, with solid design and bold colors. Not to be outdone are the various scenes you'll be exploring, which are packed with detail making the job of actually finding things much easier. There's also a nice, and surprisingly varied, soundtrack that does an excellent job of complimenting what's going on in the game.
The Bottom Line
In the end, Grace's Quest does just about everything you could ask from a hidden object game. Finding objects is challenging without being overly difficult, the mini-games are plentiful and varied, and it even features some great characters and an intriguing story. Throw in some gorgeous graphics and you have one solid package. The only real complaint is that it's a little on the short side. But while it lasts Grace's Quest is fun and challenging and a game that HOG fans shouldn't miss out on.