You know when it’s going to be one of those days, right? You hit the snooze button, get up a little late… maybe you sit in traffic for a while – and the next thing you know your plane is being forced to land by some kind of glowing-eyed demon into the waters surrounding a haunted island, whose only inhabitants seem to be ghosts trying to right the wrongs of the past.
Yep, we’ve all been there. And in Haunting Mysteries: The Island of Lost Souls, you get a chance to help those ghosts – mainly by finding hidden objects that can often be combined and used to solve quests that allow you to progress through the story. Hidden objects are the key element to the gameplay of Haunting Mysteries, but I was happy to discover that an overall attention to detail makes the familiar puzzle-solving element seem fitting.
The game does begin with your plane crashing into the freezing waters near the titular island (so you’d better figure out how to open the escape hatch and find a life raft), but after this high-action opening, you’re left pretty much alone (you’ll meet a seagull in one of the first scenes on the island, but he’s not your friend at first…). Your goal at first is to figure out how to move around the island, and, before long, you’ll encounter the “Lost Souls” who apparently can’t move on.
Seems a horrible death or two in the past has made your refuge a strange place to be marooned. The music and graphics of Haunting Mysteries: The Island of Lost Souls are well done – eerie without being terribly scary. As you discover the hidden object scenes, you may feel that they blend in rather well with the somewhat baroque island. It actually seems like the kind of place where an abandoned suitcase would be expected to contain two canisters of poison and a hacksaw.
The ghosts you’ll encounter are not fully animated, which is a little disappointing, but the voice work is consistently effective. The constant ambient sounds of waves and weather add to the atmosphere, and you may be surprised by the loneliness evoked by the game. I have to admit – there were times I was looking forward to the appearance of a spirit every now and then to break up my walking back and forth to assemble the objects and tools necessary to open doors and new areas (even in the real world, I’m not the most handy fellow!).
Expect a few hours of moody exploration, some hidden objects of medium difficulty, and the opportunity to take part in an old-fashioned ghost story in this hidden object adventure game Haunting Mysteries: The Island of Lost Souls. Maybe your day won’t be as bad as it started out!