It has long been my policy that if a painting mysteriously shows up on my front porch, I don’t hang it in my children’s rooms…unless it’s The Fairy Feller’s Master-Stroke, of course. I’m willing to risk having my kids get trapped inside a painting that was the inspiration for an early Queen song.
Oh, yeah, I should explain that in Lost Souls: Enchanted Paintings a kid gets lost inside a painting with no discernible attachment to Queen, and his mom has to travel through them in order to free her son. There are no fairy fellers or master-strokes involved, but there are mermaids, dwarves, musicians and a whole lot of objects to find.
What is it?
Lost Souls: Enchanted Paintings is yet another hidden object game, but oh how far this genre has advanced. Although the game centers around finding items you’ll need to solve the puzzles, there are enough puzzles and exploration to keep the game fresh throughout its 44 levels. In the grand tradition of classic computer adventure games, inventory management is as important as anything else.
How does it work?
As you enter a painting into another world, you’re presented with an “I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine” scenario. Help the people save their kingdoms, and they’ll help you find your son. It’s a bit selfish and lazy, really, because they could certainly find all this stuff on your end, but I guess artwork is just used to hanging around all day, doing nothing.
So, each location has items you can tap to add to your inventory, which are invariably used to unlock other locations. In some, you simply find the collection of predetermined items. In others, you have to find a few unidentified items and figure out how to use them, either there or at another location. You’ll travel back and forth quite a bit, but the game is great about letting you know if there’s nothing else to do at your current location so you don’t waste your time there.
There are 25 mini-games to complete along the way, all of which were quite simple. The whole game is, actually. Playing on the advanced setting, I never had a problem with a puzzle or mini-game, and only a couple times needed a hint to help find an item.
Is it contagious?
Yes, almost surprisingly so. Searching messy rooms for items can easily grow tiresome, but the developers of Lost Souls: Enchanted Paintings have learned how to keep the gameplay fresh throughout the adventure. The story and acting may be a bit over the top, hampered further by rudimentary cut-scene animation, but it all drives the gameplay nicely, keeping you involved throughout.
It helps that the graphics are so lush and crisp on the iPad’s Retina display. Combined with the subtle animations, the visuals are practically begging for AirPlay support to make it easy for the family to play this on the living room television.
I could do without the constant requests for an App Store rating and a Facebook post, and I was a bit surprised when the game offered a bonus level for more money (you can buy it up front if you purchase the Collector’s Edition for $6.99). But no matter; when you’re in Lost Souls, it truly is an enchanting place to be.