Sep 16, 2009

[Games] Treasure Seekers: Visions of Gold

Big Fish Games, Inc.Image via Wikipedia

The casual gaming market has certainly come a long way than just the idle games we played on early incarnations of Yahoo! Games and MSN Games. Beyond the free game angle that initially hooks people, full-featured versions that can be purchased online have become quite the revenue generator in its own right. Sure, it feels like only a few steps away from the micro-payment environment, it's still better than nothing.

Of course you get the big names like PopCap Games (Bejeweled) as having strong recall and other major players have memorable products like PlayFirst (Diner Dash) all getting their cut of the pie.

Personally, I'm pretty big on mystery, puzzle and strategy games and not just the arcade-style action games, and so I end up wandering into strange areas of the gaming world. This next game was actually introduced to me by my partner and I have to admit I'm hooked, and in a pretty good way too.

Teasure Seekers: Visions of Gold is another adventure-puzzle casual game created by Big Fish Games, the same folks who created games like Feeding Frenzy and other puzzle games like Mystery Case Files: Huntsville, which I also liked. The concept around these brands of mystery games is simple - you're given a rich photo environment and particular items that you need to locate on the page like the scene below:

Treasure Seekers: Visions of Gold

So given a photo environment like this, finding particular objects can be tricky but not totally impossible. The entire experience is tied together by a loose storyline involving two kids who are trying to prove that their grandmother used to be a pirate. Yeah, it sounds a bit odd, but it's still a premise that hold some amount of water. To break the monotony of the image-hunting aspect of the game, the transitions between locations involve alternative style puzzles for the gamer to play.

Don't expect this game to totally make you obsessed or require you invest hours and hours of time trying to figure out complex puzzles. This is still positioned as a puzzle game and thus it's not meant to be highly complex or anything of that sort. It's the kind of game that one can visit after working on reports for a few hours, drain your brain and solve a puzzle or two then go back to work. You don't even need to closely follow the story either - it's just something incidental for the kiddies so to some degree the game still makes sense. When you do try taking a closer look at what the story's about, what you'll end up with are thoughts about child endangerment, apathetic parents who don't know where their kids are and child labor by not-so-mad scientists. Seriously, you're safer trying to ignore the story.

Treasure Seekers is a nice evolutionary step for this kind of casual adventure-puzzle game but it's nothing game-changing in terms of the market. It's nice to pick up if you're really into Big Fish Games' brand of mystery games but I'm not sure if I'd recommend this for everyone to go out of their way in order to have to pay for it. It's fun but not necessarily for everyone given the risk of the game becoming somewhat repetitive.

Treasure Seekers: Visions of Gold gets 3.5 pirate maps out of a possible 5.

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