- Release Date: March 6, 2013
- Publisher: Wooga
- Developer: Wooga
- Genre: Hidden Object
Pearl’s Peril is a new Facebook hidden object game from Wooga, creator of many well-received games such as Bubble Island and Diamond Dash. The game outshines many of its rivals with its vivid artwork, engaging stories, and luring rewards, but its sluggish mechanism for unlocking new buildings and upgrading of existing ones is likely to put some players off.
Pros: really opportune music for various occasions; intriguing mystery and atmosphere; wonderful graphics capturing every detail with finesse.
Cons: occasionally repeated object-finding missions making the game sometimes nothing more than a memory test; an atrocious long time span for not-willing-to-pay players to build new structures and unravel new mysteries; limited social interaction available.
Pearl’s Peril is penned by Steven-Elliot Altman, an award-winning game writer and novelist for several bestsellers. Created in a very engrossing vein, the game will sink its hook into you before you know it. That is precisely what other HOGs fall short of. The deeper you get into the game, the more addicted you are, as layers of mysteries of increasing intricacy keeps showing up for you to unveil. Different from some other games of this genre (Hidden Agenda, Hidden Chronicles), Pearl’s Peril seamlessly blends the city building elements and the object-finding missions. In addition, you will not see a clock or a progression bar anywhere on the interface to rush you all the time, though your speed and accuracy do exert an influence on your score, which are composed of coins, cash, prestige and badges. What’s more, a new chapter is released each week, giving gamers something to expect all the time. All these enables this game to add new twists to the genre.
Set in the romantic yet tumultuous 1930s, the game promises you an unprecedented adventure in loads of mysterious and arcane places. You are incarnated as Pearl Wallace, an outstanding pilot and enthusiastic world explorer, who has an intimate friend called Iris Hillman. At the onset of this game, Pearl was living a glamorous and carefree life in New York, though market crash on Wall Street did take its toll on the city. Yet this devil-may-care attitude dissipated immediately when it came to explore new places. As per her words, “there is a story in every place you visit”. So you can get your feet wet in finding things during the first several commonplace scenarios, such as a club or your in-game living room. But her calm life soon came to a halt when a telegraph came, informing her of her father’s death and asking for her immediate return to her Polynesia home. Hurriedly Pearl packed away a few clothes, found her much-cherished journal from her father and ended her social life in New York. On the Polynesia island, things were getting weirder and weirder, until Pearl came to the knowledge that her father had actually been murdered! Luckily, she was not alone, Iris would still be with her in her new chapter of life.
In order to find who had done it, Pearl was ready to go through fire and flood, even if it meant that she would have to comb through numerous hidden object scenes all over the world, some of which could be really spooky. On her return to her inherited island, overgrown with grass and littered with various objects, she gave the island kind of tidying up. So you find yourself busy with finding all kinds of objects when you spotted an ominous raven, foreboding a huge conspiracy behind the death of Pearl’s father. The chilling scheme is going to be unfold step by step as the game presses on with you completing multitudinous missions on hundreds of hidden object scenes.
The artwork is simply gorgeous. The wonderful interaction of light and shadows is played to the most in the game. For instance, on the hidden object scene at the beach, you cannot but be impressed by the striking contrast of the red waves basking in the afterglow and the dim objects buried in the shadows. As for the sketch of characters, it borders on impeccability, as you can virtually notice the blink of eyes and the quake of eyelashes.The game also features amazing soundtrack. For each scene, there is a unique and appropriate piece, which communicates the mysterious vibe to the best effect.
Fans of HOGs will find the gameplay very familiar. As per usual for such kind of games, each scene requires you to find a number of objects in a chaotic mess located at various places, such as beach, villa entrance, and villa parlor etc. Finding objects quickly gives you higher bonus, equaling a higher score. If you fail to find a certain object, you may resort to the magnifying glass at the lower right corner for help. But you cannot use it for several times in a row, as it takes time to refill its energy. It sounds absurd, but that is the case with this game. You can get a total of five badges for each scene, and 4 hidden object scenes in each chapter. A badge equals a certain amount of points. Several successive failures will temporarily brings your game to a suspense of around 5 seconds. When you successfully complete a task, you will be given several scores, namely basic score, time score bonus, hint score bonus and accuracy score bonus. You are awarded with coins and some materials which will turn out to be useful later on.
City building elements are definitely intended by Wooga as a twist to give this HOG a polish, but this is exactly where it flops. I am not saying the building section is an awkward addition or something. Instead, it is really ingeniously designed, and goes well with the content of the story. You will surely find lots of fun out of it if only you don’t have to spend too much time waiting for the unlocking of new buildings and upgrading of extant structures. The suspense of 24 hours is really killing if you are an eager gamer. Here is where the game first make known its monetization strategy. You can pay in-game currency to speed up the process, but all too often you will find there is little chance for you to win the game dollars by playing. Of course, if you are not willing to pay, you can replay the scenes at the cost of one energy, and win coins and materials. But generally, without paying, you have very limited energy, meaning you can only replay for several times. Therefore, this monetization mechanism may probably put many players off.
Besides, limited social interaction may also damp the enthusiasm of some gregarious fans. Though you do have a choice at the end of each mission to invite one of your friends for a challenge to see who finishes the same task fastest, most of the time, you will find yourself sitting alone in front of the computer, carried away into various uncanny places with nobody to talk with.
All in all, Pearl’s Peril is a pretty nice HOG, boasting amazing graphics, sound effect and storyline, though it can do better in its social aspects and monetization.
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