Unsolved Mystery Club: Amelia Earhart for PC

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The Unsolved Mystery Club's first case: Amelia Earhart

Sep 2, 2011 (Updated Sep 3, 2011)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Lovely visuals, nice mix of game styles, fascinating history...

Cons:... doesn't take long to complete, aimed squarely at casual game fans and younger players...

The Bottom Line: If you liked casual games, you'll really enjoy The Unsolved Mystery Club: Amelia Earhart.  If you don't, this probably won't change your mind.


"On July 2, 1937 only 7,000 miles from reaching her goal to be the first to fly around the world at the equator, Amelia Earhart and her navigator Fred Noonan disappeared... After a massive search by the US Navy over the vast and deep Pacific Ocean, not a trace was found... What really happened to Amelia Earhart? Her disappearance remains as one of the greatest unsolved mysteries of all time."

That's the premise for this casual game, which has a hidden object game as its base but with enough extras to keep it interesting.  You play an initiate into the "Unsolved Mystery Club" and first must prove your puzzle-solving skills before starting the main game.  You have locations to search for items / clues (the hidden object section of the game, with a smattering of puzzle-solving alongside it) and some logic puzzles / arcade mini-games in between.

The graphics are very nicely done, full of vibrant colours and extremely detailed.  The music too is good too and there are some atmospheric sound effects (although by their very nature, hidden object games can hardly be called immersive).  You can very much play the game at your own pace, and there's a hint function for the hidden object part in case you do get stuck (though use it once and you have to wait for a timer to run before you can use it again).  The game discourages indiscriminate clicking; click too rapidly without finding anything and the screen display swims for a few seconds.

Interspersed with the finding of hidden objects are some arcade and logic mini-games; these are nice enough, certainly not very challenging but a nice change of pace (the stunt flying mini-game in particular is quite fun).  Clearly this game is aimed very much at young / casual game players; veterans aren't likely to be too interested in a title like this, but if they do play it they won't take very long completing it.  Everything's very polished, easy to play and looks good - it's just aimed at a very particular audience.

In between the games you have videos and reading material about the mystery surrounding Amelia Earhart, which is very interesting and includes some archive audio and video material.  The loading screens contain quotes from Earhart, and various theories as to what might have happened to her and Fred Noonan are proposed.  Some of the historical details are fascinating while other parts are only likely to appeal to those with a particular interest in Amelia Earhart.  The historical information is not really necessary for playing the game, but it's a good supplement to the actual gameplay.

Hidden object games are not a genre I'm particularly fond of, and this (along with all the other hidden object games I've ever played) only came my way because the publisher / developer asked me to review if for them.  For myself, I prefer something with a bit more meat rather than casual games - but for the type of game it is, it is extremely well done.  
For the target audience - youngsters and casual gamers - it's a really nice game, but if you're a relatively hardcore gamer though you're unlikely to get much from it (although it is fun and quite interesting, I wouldn't expect it to take you more than a few short hours to complete).  The combination of game styles keeps the game feeling fresh and younger ones with a feel for history will especially enjoy it.  A rating of 3 stars, for which you can add one if you like hidden object games and subtract one if you don't, seems a fair compromise (though in a way seems a little unfair to such a well produced game!).

Two other hidden-object games I've actually enjoyed are Snark Busters: Welcome to the Club and Snark Busters 2: All Revved Up.  A hidden object game that I really didn't enjoy very much (also by Freeze Tag, the developers of UMC: Amelia Earhart.  The second unsolved mystery, "Ancient Astronauts", was recently released and also looks quite good - review soonish.) will be the subject of my next game review on Epinions...

(Incidentally, a quick thank you to Jeremy - [Jeremy1456] for not minding that I continually plague him with game addition requests.  Well, at least I think he doesn't mind...?!)
 
System Requirements:

·         Windows XP /Vista/Win 7
·         Memory: 512 MB
·         DirectX: 9.0 or above
·         CPU: 1.0 GHz
·         Disk Space Required: 285MB

 This was part of the It's Elementary My Dear Watson! Mystery Write Off


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