Green Hill, a sleepy little town in the mountains where nothing unusual happens, ever. Except this one time when ravens started swarming the place and people began disappearing into a purple mist. Apart from that, sleepy little town! Your niece called you here to help find her missing boyfriend. Now, you find yourself tangled in this mess of a supernatural mystery, and the only way out is to dive in even deeper.
Mystery of the Ancients: Three Guardians sits closer to the adventure side of the fence than a pure hidden object game, but its main focus is on puzzles of all shapes and sizes. This adventure absolutely brimming with mini-games, from obstacles blocking your path to diversions within hidden object scenes. Sometimes they’re simple and standard, sometimes strange and complex, including an interactive fairy tale story! They’re always fun to tinker around with, though, and it’s the first standout feature about Mystery of the Ancients that will get you hooked.
When you’re not solving mini-games, Three Guardians has you exploring the creepy little town of Green Hill, picking up items until your inventory is overflowing. You’ll immediately understand where most of the objects need to be put to use, but other multi-purpose pieces will take some figuring out. That ambiguity can get a bit frustrating as the game progresses. Pliers to pull out nails? Sure, why not? Too bad we can’t use them to pick up that brooch sitting behind the metal grate, as well.
Each item in a hidden object scene exists in relationship to the others. The bar at the bottom shows silhouettes of the objects you need to hunt down. Once you locate them, they become active inventory items you must use to solve puzzles in the same scene. Back and forth you’ll go, picking things out of the clutter above, bringing them to storage, then busting them out to open boxes or cut open containers. There are even short mini-games contained within hidden object scenes, simple diversions like memory or combination puzzles. When you’ve found every item and put them to use, you’ll be left with a single object in your hands. Bring this back out into the world and let the adventure continue!
Mystery of the Ancients: Three Guardians hits some major high points with its overall story, setting, and puzzle design. The combination of frequent mini-games and unique hidden object scenes will keep you looking forward to the next puzzle, no matter what form it’s presented in. The overall look and feel of Three Guardians is also top notch, which makes the hastily animated, poorly voice acted cutscenes harder to stomach. Grit your teeth and make it through the cinematics, though, and you’re in for an honestly good game from beginning to end.