|Game: Ferrum’s Secrets: Where Is Grandpa?
Genre: Adventure, Casual, Indie, Hidden Object
Developer: ZigZag Soft
Publisher: Black Shell Media
Release Date: Augh 14, 2015
Platform: PC / Windows 7
Overall rating: 3/10
Level/Puzzle Design: 2/10
Replay Value: 0/10
Oh man. I wanted to like this one, God knows I love HOG games, but just, no.
In Ferrum’s Secrets you play the role of some girl who goes look for her grandpa (an inventor) who was apparently abducted by an unknown person for unknown reasons. Okay, to be fair the reasons are kinda sorta disclosed in broken English at some point, I had kind of stopped paying attention by then.
The story itself could be a decent typical HOG one, and the game could be an average one as it had a good general idea, but the execution was just awful.
From the start the game was annoying: The windowed mode provides no resolution options, leaving you with a window the same size as your screen, making the mode pointless. There is only one option for sound/music – muted or not. If you mute it, you miss out the in game sounds which aren’t too bad, but if you don’t mute it you’re driven insane by the ill-fitting music on the menu. There’s no voice acting, thankfully. The menu itself is unpleasant to look at.
The graphics are so-so. They’re done with Unity and are 3D, people look pretty decent, but everything else looks pretty bland and blends in. The 3D adds the annoyance of making the game slow and laggy.
The UI/GUI is awful looking, huge, clunky, and obscures clicking areas in some cases. The clicking areas of items is rather specific too, and sometimes you found yourself trying to click an item placed at the end of the screen only to end up in another location because they kind of overlapped.
The tutorial is short, in the way, and not overly helpful.
You’re thrown into the game with no explanation of what you’re doing there, no intro, no background, no nothing. And while I love the cats, I had started to wonder just how many friggin’ cats did this grandpa had before the girl decided to make me note at last that it was just the same cat (hers) following her around.
Most of the story is told through notes or through written dialogue that just goes by too slow in some occasions, and way too fast in others. This would have been easily solvable by allowing the user to click to get past the dialogues.
It also needs some major editing because the English in it is terribly broken.
Also, it can’t seem to make up its mind if it’s about inventors, magic, or both, as we’re all in a steampunk-like kind of setting at the start and then suddenly there’s this druid/witch like person. Ok?
The Hidden Object scenes are boring, either too easy to solve or have words that are a bit weird that made me search for the object for way too long because it wasn’t quite the right word.
The minigames have no explanations; granted, most don’t need them as they’re fairly simple, but then there’s a couple where you’re not really sure what you’re supposed to do. At all. And get no help, because… The Hint system is inconsistent. You never know when it will or won’t work. Sometimes it gets stuck in a loop or forces you to an unnecessary step (ie. carrying a light) when there’s no need to, in order to have you progress.
Oh, and finally, the spinning hidden object area was horrible. I was lucky it didn’t last long enough to make me dizzy, but it had some small items to try and click on which moved way too fast as the things spun, which only made the torture longer as I couldn’t click the exact pixel I needed.
On the upside, it’s kind of cute that you can interact with a couple objects (bump them aside or tip them over), and you can choose the game difficulty, but it hardly makes up for the hassles.