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Mystery Case Files: The Malgrave Incident - Wii Review

Game Info
Mystery Case Files: The Malgrave Incident

Wii | Big Fish Games / Nintendo | 1-4 Players (local multiplayer/co-operative play) | Out Now
Controller Compatibility: Wii Remote (pointer)
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11th September 2011; By Patrick

Developer Big Fish Games is well known in the PC gaming scene for creating fun, casual, yet difficult titles that can be enjoyed by anyone. In 2008, they partnered with Nintendo to bring out the then latest entry in their popular
Mystery Case Files series, Mystery Case Files: MillionHeir. Now in 2011, they have partnered with co-developer Sanzaru Games and publisher Nintendo again, to release Mystery Case Files: The Malgrave Incident. Is this a mystery worth solving, or a game that deserves to go to the grave?

    The game starts out with a cutscene setting the scene for the game. You are a detective who has received a request from Winston Malgrave, founder and owner of Malgrave Island, to investigate the island and collect mysterious dust (which can cure all ailments) to help his wife, Sarah. As you enter the island, you find out that you are to collect dust by finding objects in hidden object scenes.

    The gameplay itself is set up into two distinctly different elements: a 3D point-and-click adventure, and the hidden object scenes. During the Adventure gameplay, you can walk around and use items on other items... standard fare. It works really well, and it's fairly enjoyable given the setting, but does not specifically revolutionize in any aspect. This is easily forgivable however, seeing as it does not have any major flaws, and is Big Fish Games' first foray into this type of gameplay. The story itself takes a little bit of time to take off, and while it is an alright plot, if you don't like the gameplay, the story is not good enough to encourage you to continue. During the adventure, you can also collect postcards and certain objects scattered around the island, if you are a completionist.

The hidden object scenes, however, are clearly where the bulk of planning and resources went. Beautiful multi-layered environments await you in every scene, covered with... well... random junk. You are given a list of objects you are tasked to find, and you have to use your pointer controls to find them. Some objects such as a sickle might be hard for younger players to recognize, but for the most part, the challenge stems from locating them on the screen. You can zoom in and out with the D-Pad to find objects hidden in both the foreground and background as well. The game also allows for parallax scrolling, which means that sometimes you have to scroll around the screen to find objects hidden completely behind other objects.

    Personally, I have in the past found a few major errors with other hidden object games that have prevented me from enjoying. The necessity to pixel-hunt to click on the object you're looking for is hugely frustrating to me, combined with a common system where if you click without finding an object a set number of times you lose. The Malgrave Incident seems to specifically be catered to players like me though, as it remedies both of these problems. First, the addition of zooming plus seemingly more helpful hit detection allow me not to worry about missing as much when I have already found the object. And the greatest help of all is that if you miss a certain amount of times within a set period, you do not lose, your cursor merely slows down as the screen becomes covered with pink dust, and you must wait a couple seconds for it to settle. Other things that help in the gameplay are the addition of unlimited hints where a circle closes in on the location of a random object you have yet to find, as well as the ability to play the entire game cooperatively.

    Not only can you play the story cooperatively, the game also features a few multiplayer modes that are worth mentioning. The three gameplay types are Swift Pick, Tick Tick Pick, and Classic Pick. Swift Pick is simply all the players trying to find a specific object the fastest, while Classic Pick is the main game, except competitive instead of cooperative. There are two subsets of Tick Tick Pick, which are Sudden Boom and Boom Boom Rally. Sudden Boom is played with one player having a bomb attached to their cursor which transfers to another player once that player finds an item, while Boom Boom Rally is the same, but with the addition of a score. These are all enjoyable to a point, but Swift Pick and Tick Tick Pick bring back my problem about punishing players for missing, which isn't very appreciated.

    The game's atmosphere works well with the story, showing deserted shops and streets. However, the music in the adventure section is almost completely non-existent, and the songs in the hidden object scenes are about 15 seconds each, on a permanent loop, which does get very grating. One other small problem I had was that the images are fairly low-resolution, so some parts did look a bit nasty on an HDTV. Just a warning.

    The Malgrave Incident is certainly an interesting package. With a story that will last about 10 hours, and gameplay that fixes many of the flaws found in other similar games, it was even enjoyable for me -- someone who dislikes other HOG's. But some of the flaws do take away from the experience as well, such as the low resolution and audio. Thankfully, Nintendo put it out at a budget $30. At $50 I wouldn't recommend it to most people, but at $30, I would say that it is worth it.

19/30 - Good

Gameplay 9/10 - Fixes most genre flaws well, mostly hidden object scenes, adventure portions well done but not innovative, whole game supports co-op
Presentation 4/10 - Low resolution images mixed with grating gameplay music can become very irritating, setting fits story very well
Enjoyment 4/5 - Extra fixes make the game much more accessible for everyone, multiplayer modes fun but reintroduce major problem
Extra Content 2/5 - Multiplayer modes available yet they leave some to be desired, extra items available to collect if desired

Equivalent to a score of 63% (percentage score is approximate and based solely on the previously stated rating)

Review by Patrick

Mystery Case Files: The Malgrave Incident
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