Review: Stone of Destiny
C'mon, with a name like Stone of Destiny, the game has got to be cool, right?
Well, this is a hidden picture search game. You start with a backstory of trying to find clues to solve a puzzle. You are then led "around the world" to try and find hidden items in various scenic pictures from different locations. After each location, you have to accurately draw a symbol (some sort of rune?) to proceed to the next location. After each round, you then have to solve a short logic puzzle to proceed to the next round.
Well, first off, I have to say this game is very well designed. Despite viewing it on the iPhone screen, it has an immersive feel to it, and you can get caught up in trying to finish each puzzle (just the next round...then I will go to sleep!).
The locations/scenic views where you need to find you hidden objects are very nice background images, with lots of random objects scattered throughout. Some of them are pretty obvious (a helmet in the middle of a table, for example) but some of the hidden object are very difficult to find. A few of them I couldn't even recognize as what I was looking for even with the hint feature. I have usually found that I can find all but two or three of the object with a quick scan of the picture, and the remaining two or three are much more difficult.
One interesting twist is that sometimes, instead of simply listing the objects you need to find, you are given the outline of the object. I can't decide if this makes it harder or easier, but it is a nice twist.
In between the puzzles you have various other activities to do. Trying to trace the rune in the sand is sometime much harder that you would think (many times I have thought I traced it perfectly, but I am still not getting it correct). The logic puzzles between each level of a nice touch, and add to the game experience.
But unfortunately, this game is not all great. Now, I admit I have not yet solved the game (if it can be solved) so perhaps these various rune tracings will come into play at some later date, but I dont' really see the point of trying to trace a rune shape in the sand. It hasn't done anything to help the game, and it can be especially frustrating when you have a slight different from the actual rune, but the program still isn't letting you proceed. There is no limit (or at least none that I have reached) to how often you can try to trace the rune, so there is no sense of urgency.
Also, the logic puzzles between each level are repetitive. Instead of adding new puzzles, after the first few are done, it simply repeats them (making them a little harder). I would have preferred to see a wider breadth of puzzles, rather than see the same ones over and over.
Lastly, finding the hidden object, while challenging, isn't really a huge difficulty. You have plenty of time to look for the object, and you can use an unlimited number of hints (the hint clock regenerates, so once it is full, you can use it again). It would have been much better in my opinion to have a limited number of hints (perhaps tied to how well you trace the runes??) and a shorter time period. As I said, I can usually find all but two or three of the hidden object within a couple scans of the picture, leaving me with 15 minutes (!!) to find the last couple of object. Given that the hint clock regenerates in about 1 minutes, there never is any question that I will find them.
The game is fun, and fits the iPhone pretty well. I just feel like they could have done more with it to make it more challenging. I have gone through about 5 rounds of the game, and it doesn't seem to be increasing in difficulty at all. Higher rounds simply means that you have more puzzles to solve before you can advance to the next level.
Pros: VERY nice graphics, good implementation of game idea, some hidden object can be very difficult to find
Cons: Overall, the difficulty level is too easy (and you can't adjust it), some aspect of the game seem out of place and don't make much sense
All in all, for the price ($.99) this game is worth giving a try just for the graphics and the gameplay. Maybe some updates are planned to address the problems I had. But as a long term game that I will play over and over, I find that it has its limitation. 3 out of 5 stars.