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Old 05-15-2014, 06:39 PM
mikeworld mikeworld is offline
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Posts: 231
Default THE GHOST ARCHIVES: HAUNTING OF SHADY VALLEY HD [by G5 Ent.]

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/id833576298?mt=8

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30% off - limited time offer! Low introductory pricing – ends soon!

Test your paranormal abilities in this spine-chilling adventure!
Journey to an abandoned mining town named Shady Valley to investigate a series of mysterious disappearances. Upon arrival, you will be greeted by a large, hulking ghost named "Norman Macabre," who will not only care for your safety but also watch every step you take. As the story goes, the villagers who died here with unfinished business have become earthbound souls who cannot cross over. Are you skilled enough to help them? To prove that your intentions are pure and genuine, complete challenging tasks as you unravel the truth behind a dramatic sequence of events involving dirty money and a curse. Step by step, collect useful items and find clues to understand the lost souls’ needs and help them find peace!

TRY IT FREE, THEN UNLOCK THE FULL ADVENTURE FROM WITHIN THE GAME!

● Over 100 eerie locations
● Five spellbinding chapters,
● 20 enthralling mini-games
● 19 desirable achievements
● 2 gameplay modes: casual and expert
● Breathtaking graphics and unique storyline
● Game Center Support
● New iPad Retina Display Support
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Adventure:

▶ Games Navigator – By G5 Games
▶ The Secret Society - Hidden Mystery
▶ Letters From Nowhere: A Hidden Object Mystery
▶ Nightmares from the Deep: The Siren’s Call
▶ Hidden City: Mystery of Shadows

Strategy:

▶ Virtual City Playground® HD
▶ Stand O’ Food® Empire
▶ Brave Tribe
▶ Supermarket Management 2
▶ The Island Castaway®: Lost World
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The Ghost Archives: Haunting of Shady Valley HD Support
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  #2  
Old 05-15-2014, 07:17 PM
Chaos_u Chaos_u is offline
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G5 always needs full game unlock.
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  #3  
Old 05-21-2014, 12:27 PM
Silvers Silvers is offline
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Join Date: May 2014
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Extremely typical but highly polished PWP HOG (Plot? What plot? hidden object game). Despite being completely by the book, it's a lot of fun and relaxing. There IS a story, but it's cut and pasted from every ghost hog since 2009. This is NOT a bad thing. It's predictable, but delivered well and serves its purpose of providing context for the puzzles.

Now for some details...

The HOG scenes are of the old fashioned type. In another game, these would be boring, but the design team is sufficiently talented to make them enjoyable, even for a hog vet like me.

The art is beautiful and crisp on a retina display, but seldom animated. You can zoom in during hog scenes.

Puzzles are well done. A lot of the old standards, but I was surprised by bumping into a few I hadn't seen before.

Hints seem to be unlimited on the easiest difficulty, with no timer. I find this actually detracts from the game. Even a short timer would be welcome, but you can always choose not to use hints.

Hints work for navigation.

Sparkles on hog areas, but none for other activate areas.

So far, no jump map. Normally, that'd be a deal breaker, but navigation via hint is mostly harmless.

I paid $5 for the game, and consider it a fair transaction. Good value and high production values make this polished but standard hog an easy recommendation to casual players looking for a low-stakes game to play in line at the grocery store.

Almost forgot - no voices so far, and the music is atmospheric but forgettable. The game can be played with the sound off with no issues. For a mobile game, this is a big plus.

Edit: I've just finished the game, so here are some additional thoughts.

Hints are NOT in fact unlimited. They just recharge very, very quickly. Should you find yourself needing more, occasionally the environment will have a rose-themed item to click on for an additional hint. Why a rose? It's never explained.

Toward the end, the game starts to revisit old hidden object scenes at a brisk pace. This wouldn't be so bad if the scenes didn't reset every time: all items you previously found will be back in their positions, save the key item you needed to progress the plot. In 2010, that would be marginally acceptable. For 2014, it's just lazy.

Speaking of 2010, later on the game starts digging into the dirty bags of tricks used by early HOGs to hide items. Fading, misleading colouring, the whole lot. I also found a few errors: a mislabeled item or two, and one situation where a portrait in the scene sported an extremely prominent mole, but that was not valid for selection as the 'mole' in the list. Oh, and one scene asking for radios had three of them, only one of which counted toward completion. Again, this comes across as lazy.

What is NOT lazy is the art. Whoever painted the scenes and most of the items did a fantastic job. There WERE two scenes that seemed to have been made from Photoshops or stock images from older titles. Intern work? Rushed? These are mostly harmless faults.

Much of the endgame takes place in a maze. You have a map, but it's confusing and junctions in the maze are just cut-and-pasted or mirrored versions of each other. The nearly-unlimited hints will navigate for you, but then what's the point?

The plot just... vanishes at a certain point. No, really. It's like they ran out of game and pasted in random unused scenes from other games.

In one crystal-based puzzle, the solution breaks the laws of physics. It seems to have come from a magic-based game.

The final ghost boss disappears from the game entirely.

All through the game, you've been collecting pieces of a map. They never amounto to anything. It's not a jump map, and in my playthrough I was missing a third of the map by the end.

The final boss is absolutely ludicrous. In an hilarious and cheesy way, but it DEFINITELY does not belong in the game. To avoid spoilers, I'll posit a hypothetical but similar situation. It's as if you'd been playing through a forest fantasy with elves and unicorns, then stepped through the final portal to find that you were now the Punisher, and had to use an assault rifle to take down MechaGodzilla. The rifle just appears in your hands, you know how to use it perfectly, and after MechaGodzilla goes down, the game ends... by showing you a stock image of the Sydney Opera House, while the Wikipedia entry on ducks scrolls by.

A final nitpick: one of the reasons I keep coming back to the hog genre is that unlike many other game subgenres, the default is for a game to have either a strong female protagonist, or a protagonist of ambiguous gender.

Ghost Archives flubs this. I think. I could have sworn that one of the ghosts I helped wanted 'to make sure that you were her', but the final scrolling text on the 'you won' screen, disjointed as it is, refers to the protagonist as male.

All in all, it's still worth the $5 I paid for it, the end IS hilarious in a Monty Python and the Holy Grail sort of way, and the bulk of the game is standard but solid. Also, it's designed in such a way that it can be played without sound, in 30-second bursts. These are big assets for a mobile game.

Last edited by Silvers; 05-23-2014 at 03:21 AM.. Reason: Update after finishing the game
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