Hidden object games are a common enough sight these days on the App store, with a seemingly constant and never-ending flow of releases. In such a crowded marketplace, it must be increasingly difficult for developers to find new ways to satisfy hardened genre fans, whose expectations rise ever higher with each new release. It is to the credit of G5 and Vogat, the publishers and developers of Temptation, that they have created a game which should not only satisfy these expectations, but which also sets the bar a notch higher for their competitors. It achieves this through an inspired mixture of gripping storyline, with inventive and devilishly tricky puzzles and this is definitely an adventure to be savoured.

Games in this genre frequently have plots of a kind rarely seen in more traditional adventure games, with dark themes and subject matter that would not be out of place in a mainstream horror film, and in this respect Temptation is no different from a number of preceding games. Here, players find themselves thrust immediately into the action, as a small town is engulfed by a terrifying and deadly fog, sent by the mysterious Dark Raven. In order to survive and escape its clutches, players must explore the near-deserted town, speaking with the panicked and paranoid inhabitants and solving the numerous puzzles which block the way.

The game’s atmosphere really is quite superb, with a strong sense of dread created by the wonderfully realised environments, which are reminiscent of eastern European towns from a dark and distant past.  An especially effective technique used to heighten this claustrophobia is the way the fog spreads, slowly cutting off areas and forcing the player into a corner from which there is apparently no escape. As things start to unravel and the fantasy-world of Dark Raven is entered, the mood changes but the complex plot is never less than compelling and players will find themselves eager to explore further and uncover the next clue to the mystery.

Outside of the story, the puzzles are certainly imaginative and highly challenging, sure to test even hardened players. Although there are some of the standard styles as found in similar games, there are also a number of original types which will require several attempts to solve but which are absorbing and gratifying to solve. Hidden object sections are actually quite thin on the ground, which some fans might not like, but this provides a nice level of variety and given that the other puzzles are so absorbing, shouldn’t prove to be much of a distraction. An intriguing element that is used at several points is the need to discover three types of enchanted flower, all of which have different effects when used on objects, such as bringing things back to life, and which must be used wisely in order to solve certain puzzles. Again, this really adds to the challenge and marks the game out as being something original.

There is a fair amount of backtracking to be done, which could have been reduced through the inclusion of a map, as seen in other games, but it isn’t especially onerous as navigation is swift and easy. A handy task list is also provided so you can keep a track on the myriad missions that are active at any given time.  The many environments are lush and detailed, evoking a genuine sense of wonder, dread and awe while the music is well-orchestrated and atmospheric, adding much to the game.

This is a highly satisfying addition to a crowded genre and which takes some bold and innovative steps, both in its approach to storytelling and in its design and gameplay. By combining a riveting storyline with strong graphics, a lengthy quest and truly demanding puzzles, Vogat have crafted an adventure that will thrill, entertain and challenge in equal measure. It will certainly be interesting to see where they, and this particular story, go next.

Temptation Episode 1 HD is available now on the App store and is free for a limited time.

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