Jane Austen Unbound
- Release Date: May 1, 2013
- Publisher: 6waves
- Developer: 6waves
- Genre: Hidden Object Game
Jane Austen Unbound is a hidden object game that takes players into the iconic places in Jane Austen’s masterpieces. Players visit Pemberley’s kitchen, enter the Barton Cottage and walk down the Gracechurch Street, running into characters from those books, discovering hidden objects and once in a while furnish their own mansion and make it into a comfortable and cozy home.
The game is jointly developed by 6waves and BBC.
The game comes as no surprise. The fever for Austen and her stories never faded during the last few decades and has been manifested in scores of movie and TV series adaptations. And Jane Austen Unbound is not the first game inspired by that fever – Jane Austen’s Rogues and Romance was launched on Facebook last year, also of hidden Object genre.
In this new game, players, led by Jane Austen herself, who is also the protagonist, pay visits to 31 well-known scenes in the writer’s books, where they will find that the characters have been mixed up and often appear in stories that are not where they are supposed to be. For instance, you might spot Lady Catherine and her loyal servant Mr. Collins in Barton Cottage where Elinor, Marianne and Mrs. Dashwood dwell. That “unbound” mix of the stories uniquely offers an acceptable reason for completing the tasks and unlocking new scenes – players have to send them back to their home or wherever they ought to be and even stop Mr. Collins from proposing to Marianne.
Basically, Jane Austen Unbound stays true to the conventional gameplay: players spot the items listed at the bottom from the rooms and places where many a few stuff are stacked randomly, and the more and faster they could find all the required items, the higher scores they will attain. There are hints that could offer some heads-up when necessary. Items in each scene won’t change their positions no matter how many times you replay the scenes while players are asked to hunt different items for each attempt.
There is one thing noticeable about the gameplay. Whenever players click the interface consecutively without finding any wanted item, the interface will get unclear and dim, and will be back to normal a few seconds later only if players stop their arbitrary clicking.
As the game fails to surprise in both its theme and gameplay, it gets even weaker in other aspects. Although there are no ridiculous designs whatsoever – like finding the same bunch of stuff wherever you go, or forcing you to find a top hat or a pair of sunglasses in the kitchen – the game doesn’t always offer the attractive scenes. Who would like to collect wood and spot the duck at the kitchen in Pemberley rather than admire the paintings and the piano in the study? It is disappointing to have to go to all the insignificant places right from the get-go and complete quite a few levels before one really gets into the real unforgettable scenes.
Jane Austen Unbound embodies the right theme – we can never have too much to read and to reflect on the female writer – but it doesn’t do it right. Conventional gameplay and a loose and ill-arranged connection to its inspirations just don’t suffice.
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