Agency of Anomalies: Cinderstone Orphanage
Different than other HO's
I actually like the concept of this game. I usually don't write reviews nor do I go by any depending on the game. I usually play the trials to see for myself if it is my type of game because we all have different tastes.
Now this game was different for me. You gain powers from the different ghosts in the game once you find their special items that are dear to them. These powers help you progress in the game. Found a toy axe? There's a place that is overgrown and needs to be cut? Well use your growth power and now the toy axe is a regular axe.
Granted it's not perfect as it's still sometimes corny the way the powers are used but I was drawn in because it wasn't like other HO's where you find objects in scene A, return to scene B and use objects found then return to scene C to get past an area and get another object.
The story is okay. A fire destroys and orphanage and kills the the children and their caretaker who are now trapped because some paranormal power keeps them trapped. You are there to help them "move on and gain some of their power back so that their powers will help you advance in the game."
I didn't really listen to the music. Which is good in my case because it takes very little for music to annoy me. And believe me I like music but certain games like Farm Girl on the Nile made me want to throw my laptop across the room. At least the music in this game was integrated well and did not distract (at least me in any way).
The graphics were fine. Yes some games have grainy graphics but not this one. And the objects are not so tiny and integrated into the HO scenes that you feel you'll go blind soon. Or want to burn your computer.
Overall a different twist on HO games and one that keeps you interested. I did the one hour trial and actually bought it because I wanted to finish the story. Most games don't draw me in too well, their just bearable, but this one was a keeper for me.
At least try the trial, I don't think you'll be disappointed especially if you're looking for a different twist to a timeless genre of games.
August 9, 2012
Just finished this game. It was good mostly. The HOs were mixed, some you have to look for the items - some you put back the items. The puzzles were challenging; some I did manage to solve. The hint button was no help except in the HO scenes but not as directions to go from scene to scene. The storyline was excellent. I've always been interested in the paranormal. The hint button will show solutions but you must try to figure out the background and where you've seen that area before. Good game.
July 9, 2012
The Agency of Anomalies: Cinderstone Orphanage
Just finished the demo and I will definitely be buying. Really enjoying the game so far. Graphics are quite good, the H0 scenes are better than some as they are not junk piles and some are 'place the object in the scene' so there's a bit of variety. I love the part of being able to obtain powers throughout the game. Makes it a bit more interesting than some games. Not so keen on the voiceovers though as its clearly a non-english person putting on an english accent and its not great. This happens a lot in games and I don't understand why they don't just get an english actor to do the voice. Also the mouse pointer gets laggy in some scenes which is a bit annoying.
But other than that, I highly recommend the game.
May 27, 2012
Save the poor children's souls
I liked the story line about children with supernatural powers being subjected to experimentation, then dying in a fire. Enjoyed the graphics and the almost linear movement throughout the scenes. Some back tracking involved but not enough to mess with your head. When you "Return a child's power" they loan that ability to your character which you in turn use in the story to get from one scene to another. Nice touch, but sometimes you want to use that ability and the game won't allow it. Pretty easy mini-games even in expert mode. I reccommend the game at the sale price, but not for the collector's edition price.
March 21, 2012
Just about average
I haven't tried the previous one in the series but this sequel seems okay.
- good graphics and great cutscenes
- professional voice-overs
- easy minigames though neither new nor extraordinary
- some adventure but emphasis is placed on HO Scenes
- HO Scenes are the usual pile of junk, but are interactive
- tasks present no novelty either
- you earn achievements and collect some of the character's abilities
Considering the point I got to in the demo, the game is probably fairly short.
An okay game if you have nothing better
March 9, 2012
Average and boring
Looked forward to this game but there was too much hand holding - prefer not to be told what item i need for an action or where i can find it. Would like to have had a map with ability to go from area to area - needless amount of travelling thru outside/inside, etc. Found nothing new in minigames and out of frustration skipped two. Graphics and music/voice well done. Recommend for a newbie to HO games. Having just finished Surface Mystery... which had newness and challenge - if you are an expert/ intermediate try demo-know it is like the entire game then decide. Matouks
March 9, 2012
oh for a transporter map
This started out well but soon became slightly tedious with all the back and forth, repeating (more than twice) hidden object scenes and the usual storyline, especially the end.
The pace of the game was off, sometimes you were in adventure mode not seeing a hidden object or a puzzle then suddenly it was one after another. Also I was too long in one area at one stage before other new areas opened up.
There ended up being far too many hidden object scenes for my taste, with tiny objects, random click penalty both of which annoys me. Even the puzzles although nicely varied in hardness I didn?t love ? either the execution of it was off (manually dragging the ball through the labyrinth) or the type. I played in the hardest setting of two, and there were mega sparkles for hidden object scenes and black bar tips (hand holding).
THE GOOD -
-Graphics were lovely and clear and they did have my rare favourite kind of hidden object scene ? the reversed kind in a non junk pile setting. But sadly they turned out to be very few in the game.
-Quite a few hidden scenes weren?t junk pile and were nice to look at but when you replay them they become sadly tedious.
-They tried to make the game different with collecting different abilities that you use on some items.
- I did feel the end was 100% tied up and that was nice to see for a change in a SE.
If they had a transporter map to cut back all the backtracking ( just to see if I had to replay a hidden object scene for the third time), it would have made it more enjoyable. It?s a shame as with some tweaking it could have been a very good game.
LENGTH was normal for me for a SE 5-6hrs, but by then I couldn?t wait till it was over.
(I'm not going to not recommend it, as for a coupon or a DD and you don't mind backtracking it's OK but I preferred the first game in the series.)
May 22, 2012
The same old same old
I didn't even make it through the trial for this game. It's the same old thing? a fire, an orphanage, save the kids, etc. There is too much hand-holding; I don't want to be told what to do and when to do it. The HO scenes are junkpile, the graphics are OK.
I was just not thrilled at all with the story line and did not like the lack of a challenge and adventure. This game would be good for someone who has never played a hidden object adventure game, but it's not for someone who already knows the basics of this genre.
March 11, 2012
Good but not Great
I enjoyed the first installment of "The Agency of Anomalies" and was pleased to see another. While it was ok, this chapter was a bit of a let down. Don't get me wrong, I recommend it, just don't expect too much fromf it. It is a nice mix of HO scenes (HOS have enough challenge to be interesting) and puzzles. But the puzzles are pretty much the same old tired tile, connect the cogs and rotate the rings that you see in EVERY one of these games. I'm hoping the creative people at various game design companies can come with something different there. The music is at least not annoying but is kind of dull and the graphics are nice, but nothing to knock your socks off. I continue to miss the live actors that you see in an MCF episode, at least in the cut scenes. I know they must add to the expense of game development, but they add a lot to the game experience. The game seems to be short and ends abruptly. Oh, and as for the ending..the last plot twist is so old and over done, felt like a real yawner. One last concern that I'd level at most games like this. There are a few puzzles that require using color. Now look folks, I know I'm in the minority here, but there is a certain percentage of the population that, like me, are color blind. That means when a color based puzzle comes up, I head for the "skip" button. I wish game designers would come up with another way to do that kind of puzzle, like shape based or something. So go ahead and the try the game, just don't look for a great experience. You may like it, but I don't think you'll love it.
May 11, 2012
Been There, Done That...For The Most Part
I enjoyed the first Agency game, and the second takes a step back into marginal territory in my view. The plot is still something right out of an X-Men comic, as you're a detective attempting to find out what happened to several orphans with magical abilities who have disappeared at a run-down orphanage. There is of course a mad doctor involved, but I didn't have to tell you that, did I?
For the most part, this plays like a standard HO game you've already gone through before. The setting, characters and plot are largely uninspired, as if the developers thought "Well we have to make a sequel, so.." That's not necessarily a bad thing, as hidden object searches are frequent and look pretty good. It's just not adding much to the genre.
A couple touches I did enjoy that I'll make mention of: Upon going through the rescue of each child, you'll get a special power from them that you can use to advance in the game. I don't think enough was done with this, but I did like the concept and it made getting to previously inaccessible areas of the orphanage more interesting.
I also liked the added feature in the HO searches. Things you collect in one scene are then added into another scene to make it more interactive. It wasn't consistent throughout, however, which was unfortunate. I really liked the continuation and thought it added a different dimension to the game.
The puzzles are decent, but nothing stood out to me. There is a sequence at the end where you'll do 5 in a row and it takes a while to plod through them..sliders, jigsaws and rings oh my! You'll backtrack a bit, though not excessively, and music and voice is unobtrusive but nothing special. The ending is pretty weak compared to the story of the game.
Overall, this was enjoyable enough but I expected better. I think it diverged from the first game but didn't really follow through. Too many inconsistencies and unfinished promises for me. Pass.
June 17, 2012