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Title: Amaranthine Voyage: The Tree of Life (Collector’s Edition)
Started: February 13th, 2014
Finished: February 13th, 2014
Rated: 8.5/10
Played with: No one
By: Eipix Entertainment: Creating Worlds (website)
Difficulty: Expert
Duration: ~ 4 hours

February 14th, 2014

Hello my dearest people of the Internet!
How are you all doing?!

It’d been AWHILE since I’d played a real Hidden Object Game (since we can’t really count Disney Hidden Worlds) as one. So, today, on the first day of my (temporary) freedom, I decided to play the Amaranthine Voyage: The Tree of Life, which is the first game of its series. Its sequel is called Amaranthine Voyage: the Living Mountain.

Let’s get this review started!

So, the Introduction was decent, it bore a lot of foreshadowing to what would happen next, so that was nice.

The rest of the story was a little bit generic; it’s always the same idea. Spoilers: Going through another world and saving it from corruption because you are the Mighty Chosen One that has been prophesized to come before you were even born, bla-bla. But however redundant it was, I found it entertaining.

Of course, as usual with these kinds of games, there were some story problems, Spoilers: like how the Villainess dies and tells the protagonist that she’s stranded in the new world, without a chance to come back. How can the story end like that?

Obviously, it’s because they wanted us to buy the Collector’s Edition, since they touch up on that in the Bonus Chapter. Spoilers: Well, the protagonist does her best and appeals to the Elders to bring her back to her world. And it ends when she succeeds. HOWEVER, what happens to the captain of the zeppelin? She said that he would wake up with a headache. Has he woken up yet? Will he still be inside the jungle, inside of a new world? Will Prospero have to take care of that guy now, or was he taken back with us when we succeeded? So many questions left unanswered, I wonder if they’ll touch up on that in the second game!

They chose to feature Voice Acting as well as actual acting in this game, and this actually reminded me of the 13th Skull game from the Mystery Case File series.

I must say that the Voice Acting was disparate in terms of skills.

The main character had her ups and her downs (in my opinion sometimes, mostly downs). Sometimes, her expressions seemed forced, or the emotions that should have been there were… simply not there.

The antagonists’ voice acting, however? Brilliant!

As for the acting, I cannot say much, as there were only very little.

I found that the main antagonist’s movements were a little bit too repetitive and her mouth never matched the audio file (perhaps this may have been my computer being slow, or it is because they reused the same footage and replaced the audio with the real one?).

I was surprised, I will admit, at the effects that they displayed. Pleasantly surprised. I liked that they included some action into it and I was even shocked when I saw them attacking the Captain of the zeppelin. [although he didn’t die].
I loved the ‘realism’ aspect of the game as well; how, consistently during the game, you had to guide the character through the most simple of tasks; turning the key in the doorknob, or even defeating the antagonist using magic [this also reminded me of the Fearful Tales: Hansel and Gretel game]! This effectively – in my case anyway – plunged me into the character (despite the lack of emotion she showed when she spoke sometimes).
I loved the attention to details they put into the flashback scenes as well.

The art style behind the landscape was pretty good also!
More than once, the animations made me doubt in the Hidden Boards [wondering, for example, if this object that is moving is the object that I’m looking for and being too proud to use the HINT button to figure it out is what I mean by this], and that’s what I like, actually, in a game like this – spending time looking for things because they’ve hidden it well (although I don’t think I’d like it very much if it’d been hidden TOO well).

What I was most surprised with were the Hidden Boards and the Puzzles. This game added a third component to it, which made me bump up its grade: Riddles.

The Hidden Boards were very well thought of and I loved the fact that we had to return twice for different things. They almost all ended in the same fashion: there would be a riddle in which we would have to find a final object, which we would use as an item in our inventory later.

The Riddles were well-thought of and they displayed enough hints so that a child could understand and play it out well without the Skip or the Hint Buttons.

The Puzzles were another thumbs-up in my most humble opinion. Eipix Entertainment varied the difficulties of each puzzle, and added diversity in the puzzles, too. I was taken back to my childhood and teenage years as I solved them.

Indeed, you could find all ranges of games, from the Crossing-the-River puzzle to the Tower of Hanoi (Vietnamese city, how even MORE awesome is that? I am greatly biased), passing through the Peg Solitaire and the Sliding Puzzle. And so much more I cannot name, so much more…!

Not only were these marvelous things applied, but there were a LOT of rooms to explore, and a lot of puzzles, which meant that, sometimes, even I got confused as to where I was supposed to go and how I was supposed to get there. Kudos to their mapping department, who made me confused (I’m not even kidding; if I always know exactly where to go, where’s the fun in exploring?)

And then, there’s another kudos: the research that was put into these. I don’t know if you’ll realize, but these people have done their research. Many puzzles will be linked to each other, and at some point, you will see elemental alchemy symbols, which they associated well with their counterparts in the game, too! As an elemental fan in general (Glaceon can attest to that and I think, to a certain degree, even Growlithe can tell you that I love elements), I give a nod to them for having thought of bringing these up rather than only the zodiacs.

A problem I found with some of the puzzles were that the instructions, sometimes, were unclear as to what we were supposed to do. This slowed me down plenty because I misunderstood the comments.

There were also achievements to unlock, like many games, which made the game even more interesting and slowed me down in my quest to finish (I wasn’t able to unlock all the achievements, but I was able to unlock maybe 3/4 of them).

The ‘side quests’ which involve the achievements weren’t so bad either, they reminded me of the Nearwood game, which was very nice, if you recall. We had to find not only blimps but also butterflies (there were different ratios too). So they were hidden in almost every location, and we’d have to find them.

The game was not offered in any other resolution than Fullscreen, which adds on to the experience and helps the player seek the objects better.

And last but not least: the credits. I seldom talk about them because I don’t bother with them as a general rule, however, somehow, this credits scene caught my eye because of the game designers’ comments. Indeed, it was funny to read, if it doesn’t make you chuckle and shake your head at the very least.

Anyways, if you liked NearWood and/or Fearful Tales: Hansel and Gretel, why not give this one a shot?

image – This was Ponyta, and I’m out! – image