Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Android games: "Crystal Portal" -- a glorious waste of time

Android Game Review:  The Mystery of the Crystal Portal
Initial review:  Four stars
Game category:  Puzzle game
Game type: Similar to Paradise
Recommended device size:  Tablets
Who'd enjoy it?:  Teens/adults who like puzzle story games. 
Android Market link:

I'd tried and got frustrated with other puzzle stories before, so I was a little wary of this one.  There's no real action in these (the art is stunning, however) -- if you're not familiar with this type of game, it's "sort of" like the old "choose your own adventure" book.  The protagonist is a journalist named Nicole Rankwist, who arrives home to find her archaeologist father missing.  Anyone who knows us anthropologist/archaeologist types knows we're a LOT of trouble.  Like all other missing archaeologists, he's just made a discovery that "could change the course of humanity."  But he departed (voluntarily?) for parts unknown, leaving a journal that directs her to go to Japan.

The graphics are delightful -- intricate, colorful, and eye-catching.  Game play is smooth, with a very useful help and hint function (this is a pet peeve of mine -- bad help screens.

The screens unlock after you find the right pieces to group together (a key, a fan, a statue, a frog -- which may not be related to each other or to the container you put them in.)  The game is more or less a "prequel", where you get the first chapter for free.  It's a nice little game, and if you've got a boring jury duty call, this is a perfect little time-passer to take with you while you wait.

The only reason for four stars is that the play isn't random.  Once you've solved the riddle, that's it.  You can go back and re-solve it, but you know how to do it now.

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