The mob, a love story and hidden bunnies.
What might have fooled me into a stupid sense of awe was looking at the trailer for Hidden Runaway. It looked like this game could have been a new Broken Sword, or Flight of the Amazon Queen. That is how great the animations look, and the trailer had the same kind of vibe. When starting the game I was greeted with the same excellent animation, and up to a point where the game left me in Brian’s room I thought it might be a point and click adventure. At that point however the game turned into a hidden object puzzle game, and my heart sank. Not that I don’t enjoy the odd HOG game, no I am the reviewer with the most experience from the genre here at TouchGen. I have played numerous HOG games from G5 Entertainment, and Big Fish. Rather the yearning for something fresh in the point and click adventure genre made me quite disappointed.
Hidden Runaway is actually a re-imagining of a point and click adventure named Runaway: A Road Adventure. It was released for PC in 2002, and made quite a splash in Europe. The story of the game is about Brian who is about to make a move from New York to California when his path intercepts that of Gina. She has just witnessed a mob murder, and is the next name on their hit list. Together they have to escape, hide and also take down the mob.
I had to look at some walkthrough videos on youtube to confirm what I had already suspected. The re-imagining of the game is actually more or less a complete HOG remake of it. The same animated cut scenes, and the same scenery. The objectives differ slightly, and the gameplay is completely altered. Instead of walking about with Brian looking for items, combining and using items you look at the game from a first person hidden object view. I feel a bit cheated, as I would rather have the original game in a proper touch screen version instead. Hopefully that is still a possibility.
Despite being a hidden object game I kept on pushing forward due to wanting to find out what had happened to Gina. The story being told by Brian, and Gina is really good, and I think the flashback structure of the game has added some humour that the original lacked. Gina and Brian are constantly bickering, and their view of the past isn’t always the same.
As a seasoned hidden object gamer I soon had to conclude that this is not the best hidden object game I have ever played. Nor is it even good. I would call it ok at best. The objects are too small, too hidden and at times the perspective changes when you pan around. I had to resort to both panicked poking of the screen, and using the hint button to proceed. My vision is good, and my knowledge of English is also acceptable. Still I could not find the objects described.
There are some great puzzles that break up the finding of hidden objects. Some of these puzzles are awesome such as the logical riddle letting you place patients in beds to find the next clue. Others are basic jigsaw puzzles that are too easy to be any challenge. The hidden object scenes also have a puzzle or two that forces you to go between scenes finding new objects to use.
The inventory system is found below the scenery, and to use something you just touch and drag it. I found it to be slightly awkward in recognizing the correct object when I tried to interact. Still functional enough.
The hint system is a movie reel winding up. Once full you can use a hint, and then it starts winding up again. Too bad that I had to use it so often.
The presentation is top notch, and seriously it should be. Reusing animated movies from a point and click adventure with years of production should do for a great experience. The scenes are also really good, as they are also from the Runaway: The Road Adventure. All that the developer has had to do is adapt it to a hidden object kind of formula. Adding objects in the scenes, and adapting it to another kind of pace.
What the game lacks is voiceovers that were there in the original. I think just having the dialogue in text is a big let-down.
Hidden Runaway is a reimagining of a ten year old point and click adventure, and I don’t really get it. Why not release the full game on iOS first, and then perhaps this dumbed down hidden object game as a sidekick? Now I feel a bit cheated, and I think veterans of the original might feel even more jaded. Do not download if you expect to play a full point and click adventure. If you are a fan of hidden object games it is however ok, and has both style and story that sometimes is lacking for that genre.