I just jumped into playing the free version of this Treasure Seekers 4 free with in-app purchase for unlock the full game. The difference between this free version and the full version is that there is a purchase option in the free version compared to the full version. How far you can go in the free version seems limited too. The game stops at the part where Tom has unlocked the door where Nelly is kidnapped. To proceed to solve the rest of the puzzle, you need to unlock the game via the in-app purchase.
The game mechanics of this free version and the full version is similar. The option to upgrade the free to the paid via in-app purchase is $4.99. It is equivalent to buying the full game at $4.99. I have been playing lots of hidden object puzzle game lately and the price range of such games is between $4.99 to $6.99. I will not think the price is expensive as this genre of games involves the user inside the game to a certain extent.
For example, in the Treasure Seekers 4, you need to participate in the tasks to uncover the secret of your missing sister. One of the first task is to reveal the hidden writings on the paper. You need to use a pencil and shade to reveal them. Pushing the pencil up and down reveals the writings. Usually in hidden object games, you just need to tap your fingers in certain parts of the photo to find the hidden object but this game goes further to involve the gamer into doing something to uncover parts of the puzzle.
One of the features I dislike about this game is that the popup windows to reveal the puzzle has a small “x” sign to close the window. The cross to close the window is too small to be noticed. At first, I am shown with a blank page of the diary. It does not close on its own until I tap on the cross. This prohibits me from tapping on the area that is covered by the paper to find the pencil. Since the pencil is beneath the area that is covered, the gamer might think he is stuck at this level until he pays to unlock the full game. The top right cross can be made bigger to show that the popup window can actually be closed.
In the usual hidden object games, you can pinch in and out to zoom into parts of the screen. In Treasure Seekers 4, you need to obtain a special item called the X-Glass to zoom into certain parts of the screen. The X-Glass will reveal certain hidden objects that cannot be seen by the naked eye. I feel the developers done it this way to make the gamers work harder in the game to obtain the magnifying glass. If the game is too easy, the gamer might just abandon the game after few rounds of playing. It seems that the tactic to reward the gamer after certain rounds makes the gamer addicted to the puzzle game and also gets him interested in the story of the game as well.
I ran into some issues after putting the eyes into the mask. The hint to unlock the door was using the X-Glass. But when I tap on the hint button, tapping on the X-Glass does not have any reaction at all. In the end, I quit the game and come back at the same level again. It works the 2nd time. I managed to pull out the X-Glass and use it to navigate around the picture for hints to open the caged door.
You will not feel bored in this game at all. Sometimes, there is dialogue between the villains and you can see what they are talking.
Furthermore, finding hidden objects is not tied to the picture alone. Sometimes, you need to find some group of objects to make an action like unlock some chest or lift up a painting and so on. Sometimes, the X-Glass can allow you to find hidden places where you need to put in the missing objects to unlock a door or some chest. You can also tap on the hidden objects within the X-Glass to make them drop into your inventory. These items may come into use in later part of the game.
You may also need to use some objects within the puzzle to carry out an action. For example, you need to use the dagger to cut the ropes before taking the wheel to unlock the door.
There is more fun stuff in the later part of the game. For example, there is a time travel ring where you can swap places to solve the puzzle. This gem is far more useful than the X-Glass as you can pick up objects in different parts of the game.
The game also requires you to find certain objects to uncover some hidden place. The X-Glass allows you to find the uncovered wall. But to get to the next part of the puzzle, you need to do something else. To remove parts of the wall, you need to find the missing tools in the picture and drop them into the empty circle. This will solve the next puzzle.
Some of the puzzles take time to solve. Sometimes when you are stuck, I will suggest you can go do other stuff and come back and play the game. You might be able to solve the puzzle after that. It needs time for the gameplay to be absorbed into your brain. I haven’t seen any game walkthrough in the game yet. The only useful hints is the hint button and the X-Glass. Use them wisely and you are on your way to completing the game.
Overall, I feel this game is nice and challenging. You will lose $6.99 to get the full game but you will gain some satisfaction in return when you try to solve the puzzles in the game. There is a few glitches as mentioned previously regarding the X-Glass cannot be invoked or the cross button is too small to be seen. But I hope the developers can iron out such issues in the next updates. They are not serious but they hamper enjoyment of the game. The gamer will be lost or frustrated when the X-Glass cannot be used. But for people who retries, they will manage to overcome that hurdle. I am using iPad 2 firmware 5.0.1 for this game review. You might not hit the same issue if you are on a different firmware.
The full game can be unlocked for $4.99 on the iPhone and $6.99 on the iPad. I feel such games are better played on the iPad due to the large screen available on the iPad. In my opinion, the large screen on iPad allows you to find the hidden objects faster than on the iPhone.
Graphics: 4.6 /5
Sound/Music: 4.6 / 5
Addictiveness: 5 / 5
Value for money: 5 / 5
Overall: 4.6 / 5