Review: Oddly Enough: Pied Piper Collector’s Edition
Oddly Enough: Pied Piper, Mountain Crime: Requital and Natural Threat: Ominous Shores are bundled together in this collector's edition to keep your object finding cravings at bay.
- Worth The Time?Yes.
- Things LovedEach game has a different and interesting aesthetic. All three games have a nice graphical quality. Will keep you guessing about what is truly going on. The puzzles have a rewarding quality, even if it just unlocks more brain-teasers. Three full games for a low price. Although each game is short, the overall package will keep you busy. Mid-range system requirements. No internet connection required.
- Things HatedSometimes quirky animations. Voice acting can be a bit tough on some people's ears. Each game is relatively short. Not for everyone. Little replay value.
- RecommendationFor those of you that like to solve puzzles and have a rather relaxed vibe while gaming; this is a definite choice to try out.
- Name: Oddly Enough: Pied Piper Collector's Edition
- Genre: Hidden Item Puzzler(s)
- Players: 1
- Multiplayer: None
- Platforms: PC
- Developer: Alawar Games
- Publisher: Focus Multimedia Limited
- Price: R80 - R200
- Reviewed On: PC
It is nice to see; in an industry filled with monolithic games throwing their weight around like there’s no tomorrow, that there are a few unknown games that still manage to be fun, even though they don’t have the best production values or state of the art animation alongside a large quota of bullets flying past you.
Enter the world filled with lots of problems accompanied by point and click, mystery / puzzle solving mechanics.
If you’ve never played one of these types of games before, you must have seen them before, be it someone playing them or perhaps at a certain section at your gaming shop.
All three games contained within this collector’s edition follow the same recipe. What recipe is that you may ask? Well, it certainly contains a lot of searching and solving puzzles in the most obscure way. Obscure in a good way. If you feel the need for a more chilled vibe while gaming, or perhaps have some money needing spending on a game that makes you think, search and get frustrated by people who can’t help themselves, feel free to give this edition a go.
The main game included is; Oddly Enough Pied Piper, alongside two complete bonus games dubbed Mountain Crime: Requital and Natural Threat: Ominous Shores.
Oddly Enough: Pied Piper
Our tale takes place in a fairy tale inspired town called Hamelin. The town is overrun with rodents and the citizens are getting desperate. They call for the help of the Pied Piper. He agrees to help them in exchange for ten gold coins. Everyone agrees and he gets rid of the rats in no time. All of a sudden the citizens refuse to pay their flute playing savior, without any given reason. I assume they are stingy or just plain idiotic. He decides to take action until he receives his due payment. During one night he kidnaps the town’s children simply by playing music. They follow him and they’re gone. If the townsfolk just paid him, all of this could’ve been avoided. Now you’re being asked by the very same cheap folk to help them get their offspring back. If it were up to me, I’d leave them and tell them to get their own children back, the ungrateful simpletons.
If that’s how things turned out, then you wouldn’t have anything to play; just one cut-scene to watch.
The adventure begins with you trying to find the children and the ten gold coins hidden along the way.
The controls consists of you just using the mouse. Seems pretty straight-forward, yes, but it’s all you need. The rest is up to you and your brain to figure out.
During the entire course of the game, you’ll be faced with an endless barrage of problems and hidden objects to be found. The game is fun and has a relaxed feel to it. The folksy aesthetic gives the game a nice and warm feel throughout. The overall mechanic of the the game consists of you jumping from location to location, finding items and figuring out how to do certain puzzles and what to use. Most of the time, the methods you use are fairly odd, but quite sensible at that. If I were to give an example: You need to get to the roof of a bakery to scare off a living gargoyle, because the baker is refusing to let you into the bakery to help him with his problems until you get rid of the aforementioned gargoyle. In another location; next to the bakery, you find a retractable ladder, but the mechanism that suspends it to the roof in missing. Search a nearby area, that is illuminated to tell you that you’ll find something you need. At the bottom of the screen you’re given the silhouettes of the items you need to collect. Collect all the items and they are combined to give you a new item; in this case it’s a hamster wheel, attach it to the ladder. Go through another bunch of locations, catch a mouse by luring it with cheese into a cage, put it in the wheel, and boom, you’re set to gain access to the roof.
Whenever you’re searching for items, you’ll find them in the most uncommon of places. Luckily you’ll be able to use hints every now and then if you’re stuck or don’t know where to search. One you’ve used the hint option, it will take a short while to recharge and once the meter is filled, you’ll be able to request another hint. When the next item you need to find or search for is in another location / screen, the hint will redirect you to the arrow you would have used to go back or enter another location. When it’s telling you to go to another location, it won’t drain the recharge meter. It will only do so when displaying the item you need to pick up, find or use.
The puzzles you’ll encounter are never frustrating; they are clever but quite manageable and when you feel you’re struggling too much with the given puzzle you have the option to skip it. It is the only sections that you are able to skip. You never get the feeling of being stuck resulting in you not wanting to play any further. The puzzles are accompanied by instructions, so you won’t stumble back and forth in the dark not knowing what to do.
You’ll go about the market area, the industrial inspired work place, circus themed area and the Pied Piper’s lair. The game is fairly short; anywhere between 3-4 hours. It also depends if you’re playing on Casual or Expert mode. In Expert mode, the hint meter will recharge much slower and areas of interest are not highlighted.
The journey to rescue the townsfolk’s children is not long enough for it to overstay its welcome, and outsmarting the Pied Piper is over too quickly, resulting in a rather anti-climactic ending. But besides that, you’ll have a nice journey ahead of you. That and growling cash-registers.
Mountain Crime: Requital
The game begins with you; Dr Phillip White on his way to help a patient; Mr Grey, who is the current owner of the White Wolf Hotel. The weather is lousy and you are unable to travel any further by car due to the no longer functioning bridge forcing you to continue this journey on foot. Lucky for you, the White Wolf Hotel is just up ahead and you can begin searching for your patient. One thing you cannot be mistaken about is the fact that this is one really dedicated doctor. Nothing will stop this guy and the search for his patient. The game’s look is not at all folksy, and has a much more realistic feel to it. It’s quite on par with visuals when looking at other games in this genre. This increases the difficulty for finding items. Other elements; like rain and background animations also increase the difficulty for spotting certain items. It’s not a bad thing, it just forces you to focus more.
As you progress into the hotel you’ll discover one of many victims needing your attention. The first of these victims is a man lying on the floor with a snakebite on his hand. You have to find the correct antidote to help the poor fellow. One of the major complaints I have about this game is the sense of urgency, which is non-existent. Although the characters express themselves with urgency, there is no real urgency. Example: I want to help this poor fellow lying on the cold hard floor in his gown. But to do that, I need a tape-measure for determining the breadth of the snake’s bite and therefore knowing what antidote to administer. To do this, you have to piece a lot of other puzzles together, which diminishes the urgency of the matter. Sure, it makes you desperate to find the next piece of the puzzle or desperate about figuring out what to do next.
Overall, this was one really enjoyable puzzle game. The aspects that will certainly put people off, are the quirky animations and voice-acting. Besides that, it’s quite interesting to see what really happened at the hotel. An unexpected twist, if you will.
Natural Threat: Ominous Shores
Much like the previous games above, this game will have you searching and piecing together puzzles a lot. At the beginning of the game you take on the role of a plant-loving Professor Steiner’s assistant. During this “tutorial” stage you will be given all the info necessary to continue the journey that lies ahead. If you’ve played the other two games mentioned above, you’ll most certainly know what everything is about. Not story-wise, but when it comes to the gameplay elements.
After you’ve helped the antagonistic professor, you take on the role of a shipwrecked survivor that was on his way to his vacation destination alongside his friends. You’ll need to find your friends and solve the mystery coupled together with this island. And by wanting to do that, you’ll have to search your ass off, fix things and piece things together. By saying “things”, I mean random stuff, that when combined, prove to be profoundly useful.
The search sections will not provide you with the items’ silhouettes like the two aforementioned games, but only the item’s name. Something that’s also different in the search sections is that you’ll have to look for “half an apple” that is displayed in a different color. This means you have to “do” something to acquire this item. In this case, pick up a knife and slice the apple in half. It forces you to think differently rather than just search for the given objects. In other words, you have to combine items to get the end result you’re searching for.
The same hint system returns this time around, and although you’ll get along with a few hints, there are some objects that are really difficult to spot. It’s also useful to use when not knowing where to go, just like Mountain Crime Requital.
The overall picture and history that is uncovered piece by piece, will have the people that pushed through the difficult puzzles, happy. The game is not predictable and will provide around three to five hours worth of playtime.
Although all the games included in this collector’s edition are very much the same, each one of these titles will have something unique and interesting about them. It may not be for every gamer out there, but for those that love to figure interesting puzzles out and have their eyes tested to the limit to find that one last item needed; they will be in gaming heaven.