May’s Mysteries: The Secret of Dragonville is hard to like, and hard to dislike, if that makes any sense. The premise of the game is that you follow May and her brother, Tery, as they leave their home in Balloonville in, what else, a hot air balloon. Their enjoyable little jaunt is soon interrupted by stormy weather, which pitches the balloon pilot right out of the basket and over the edge. Soon afterward, May and Tery topple over as well.
May awakens outside the gates of Dragonville. Tery has left a note that he has gone on alone looking for help. May enters the town of Dragonville to find Tery. She begins her quest by talking with the locals (who strangely seem to have no children, nor do they like them).
Usually, any offer of help by one of these weird locals is presented in the form of a bribe and not a very nice one at that. The characters in question preface most of their interactions with something like, “Well, I don’t normally want to have anything to do with children, but if you can help me solve ‘X’ puzzle, I’ll provide you with a clue.” How’s that for a warm welcome?
Each interaction is normally the precursor to a puzzle. The puzzles tend to be mathematical in nature, arrange the pieces, or hidden object. The “cartoonish” graphics make spotting items in the hidden object scenes challenging at best.
If you are used to the rich and beautiful graphics of hidden object adventures such as the Dark Dimension or House of 1,000 Doors series, prepare yourself for very rudimentary “sketches.” More than once (after hitting that trusty “hint” button) I ended up exclaiming in annoyance, “THAT’S duct tape?!?”
Other puzzles encountered within May’s Mysteries: The Secret of Dragonville simply seemed of the “pull an answer out of your, ahem, hat” variety. Shouldn’t there be some logic to a puzzle? Or at least some logical category of answer? I found myself randomly shouting, “Chicago! The square root of 7! Boric acid! Pink!”
Also, when puzzles launch they appear in a small “inset” type box, which wasn’t too easy for my eyes to see. I think the screen space could have been used to greater advantage with the puzzles. C’mon, folks, you’ve got plenty of real estate there… use it!
As for the dialogue, some of it is spoken and others are simply text exchanges within, yet another, inset box.
Yet, it is difficult to dislike the game. The story is sweet, once you get past the hateful townsfolk, and it’s really packed with puzzles, some 270+. I think this game is best for younger gamers. I could see my eight-year-old taking to this like a duck to water. She’d be happy to serve as May’s capable assistant as they race along to find Tery. I, however, am feeling more and more like a citizen of Dragonville.