Mystery Case Files: 13th Skull Game Review

The award-winning Mystery Case Files hidden object adventure game series is back with their latest installment Mystery Case Files: 13th Skull. Travel to the Louisiana bayou and help find a man who mysteriously disappeared from a creepy mansion. The locals are afraid, claiming that this was caused by the ghost of a pirate trying to protect his treasure. Solve the mysteries surrounding the pirate’s curse and find the missing man in this thrilling game.

The Mystery Case Files series has long been considered one of the leaders in the hidden object game genre, producing games that introduced innovative concepts into the genre. 13th Skull is no different, as the beautiful and intricate artwork and puzzles are now accompanied by live action filmed shots that truly create an immersive experience. Quests and missions have also received a lot of attention from the developers, moving this series slowly but surely into the realm of roleplaying adventure games.

Hot off the supernatural Ravenhearst and Dire Grove cases, the Master Detective (that’s you!) has been called in to solve a missing person’s case in the Louisiana bayou. A young family has recently moved into an old mansion by the swamps, and the husband has disappeared under mysterious circumstances. The locals claim that he was the victim of a pirate’s curse, and refuse to go near the mansion. So it is up to you to solve this mystery and bring the missing man back to his family.

Like the recent games in the Mystery Case Files series, 13th Skull is a hidden object adventure game. You roam around the Louisiana bayou mansion and its neighboring village while searching for clues and objects that will help you solve the mystery. Various characters in the game will also ask you to locate lost or hidden items in order to gain their cooperation. Along the way, you will face numerous puzzles to be solved and hidden object scenes to be scrutinized.

The hidden object scenes embody the theme and atmosphere of the game very well, with gorgeous artwork that capture the feel of the Louisiana bayou. The scenes also don’t feel as cluttered as those in some other games, since the various items hidden in this game all relate to the game and atmosphere, and aren’t random things thrown in to fill a scene. These scenes are generally of an average to above average difficulty level. The puzzles and minigames have also been designed very well, and fit nicely into this supernatural detective mystery. You have plenty of logic and spatial puzzles that present a decent challenge, with the clues for solving some of these puzzles found in places where you least expect them.

As expected in a Mystery Case Files game, the artwork and music here are top-notch. The art is of a beautiful pseudo-realistic style that brings the world to life. The artists have also managed to capture the dark and foreboding nature of the Louisiana swampland with rich, dark and slightly supernatural tones. The sound effects are also excellent. A good musical score, spooky ambient sound effects and convincing voice work all combine to create a realistic setting.

One thing that makes 13th Skull stand out from the crowd is its usage of live action shots to tell the story. Instead of seeing cut scenes with cartoon panels or animation, you are treated to entire scenes acted out by real people (And thankfully the acting is pretty decent!). In addition, anytime you need to interact with a character in the game, you’ll be greeted with real actors, with every bit of interaction acted and voiced out in full. Some people may feel that live action shots seem out of place in a hidden object game, but I personally feel that seeing real people adds to the realism and urgency of the adventure, and further draws you into this rich world.

There is a bit more ‘adventure’ in the game as well. You get to interact with the various characters in the game, asking them about their opinions and what they know about the mystery. You will get dialog options that you can ask the characters, and more options will appear as you progress further in the game or complete ‘quests’ for the characters. As mentioned above, all these interactions are fully acted and voiced. And similar to the typical role-playing game, these characters have an exclamation mark above their heads if they have ‘quests’ or more information for you.

Mystery Case Files: 13th Skull is a worthy sequel in a game series that is known as one of the pioneers in the hidden object game genre. The gameplay, story, art and music work beautifully together to create an immersive environment for you to explore. You will love this game if you liked the Mystery Case Files game series or other hidden object adventure games. The basic version of the game is not out yet, but you can get the Collector’s Edition of the PC game which includes exclusive content such as bonus gameplay, a built-in strategy guide, an exclusive soundtrack and more.

Rating: 4.5/5.0

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