Review: Mind’s Eye: Secrets of the Forgotten

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Of all the casual game types out there, hidden object games are my favorite guilty pleasure. I suppose it all stems from my childhood, as I grew up on kid magazines like Highlights and Ranger Rick which were always brimming with hidden object games and other pen-and-paper puzzles. So I’ve played a TON of hidden object games in my time, including Alawar Entertainment’s latest, Mind’s Eye: Secrets of the Forgotten.

Mind’s Eye is a solid new addition to the genre, combining standard hidden object game fare with a few interesting twists. You’re given a list of items written on a notepad at the bottom of the screen, and, as you progress through the story, you must attentively scan various background environments like offices, subway stations, and crime scenes – this is a murder mystery, after all – to collect all of the listed items. Easy peasy!

What’s neat about Mind’s Eye, though, is its scrolling perspective. In every other hidden object game I can remember playing, the backgrounds have always been static – some have moving objects or lighting effects, but mostly the environments are still images. Here, the scenes are larger, requiring you to scroll left and right to find every last clue.

Each scene also consists of a foreground layer and a background layer with different objects attached to each, so when you scroll left or right, your perspective of the scene changes and objects that may have been hiding behind a foreground obstacle become visible. This shifting perspective is also used in a few instances for items that have been split in half – one half on each layer of the scene – and must be connected together to form the full object. Sliding an arrow through a target to create a bull’s eye, for example, or aligning a picture with its frame.

Adventure-style inventory puzzles are peppered in throughout as well, with certain collected objects doubling as useable items – you may need to find a pair of pliers and then use them to pull out another hidden object that’s stuck in the environment, for instance – and every once in a while you’ll have to solve a simple mini-game to progress, such as a jigsaw puzzle or a memory game. So there is a good amount of variety behind the basic hidden object design.

For the most part, Mind’s Eye’s cutscenes, character art and backdrops are crisply detailed and well defined – a vital component to any hidden object game. However, if you play in full screen mode using a larger monitor, the game’s low (unadjustable) resolution causes the graphics to look slightly hazy. You can play in windowed mode to maximize the resolution, but shrinking the viewing space makes it harder to spot the trickier objects. I would love to have had an option for scaling the resolution.

Other than that, the only thing I really have to complain about is a lack of value. Mind’s Eye is a reasonable $10, but it only takes an hour or two to complete and doesn’t have any type of scoring/reward system to invite you back to play multiple times. And with Alawar offering a 1-hour trial version, you can get as much enjoyment from the demo as the full version without having to pay a single cent.

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Pros:
+ Core hidden object design is spot-on
+ Shifting perspective introduces new challenges
+ Good assortment of item puzzles and mini-games

Cons:
– No replay value
– Can’t adjust resolution for larger screens

Game Info:
Platform: PC
Publisher: Alawar Entertainment
Developer: Alawar Entertainment
Release Date: 2/18/2010
Genre: Hidden Object
Players: 1
Source: Review code provided by publisher

About the Author

Matt Litten is the full-time editor and owner of VGBlogger.com. He is responsible for maintaining the day to day operation of the site, editing all staff content before it is published, and contributing regular news, reviews, previews and other articles. Matt landed his first gig in the video game review business writing for the now-defunct website BonusStage.com. After the sad and untimely close of BonusStage, the former staff went on to found VGBlogger.com. After a short stint as US Site Manager for AceGamez, Matt assumed full ownership over VGBlogger, and to this day he is dedicated to making it one of the top video game blogs in all the blogosphere. Matt is a fair-minded reviewer and lover of games of all platforms and types, big or small, hyped or niche, big-budget or indie. But that doesn't mean he will let poor games slide without a good thrashing when necessary!