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The PuppetShow re-opens its doors, this time with a new investigation to solve and old enemies to face. It is the sequel to Mystery of Joyville, the hidden-object adventure game by ERS Game Studios. Once again, the game puts you in the shoes of The Detective, who arrives to a small town to investigate the disappearance of children's souls. Making use of some kind of spell, someone stole children's souls while they were asleep, leaving them in a state of deep sleep, as if they were dead. Called by one of the victims' mother, you arrive to investigate the cause of this weird condition, and right from the beginning clues point to one name, Felicia, The Master's daughter.
You start your quest through the streets of the town, collecting clues and evidence to locate Felicia, and halt whatever plan she has in mind. The investigation starts off in a room of one of the victims, but most of the action takes place in Lord Adrian's castle. There, the game will put to the test your puzzle-solving skills as you overcome a series of levels and move forward in the adventure. Gaining access to the castle's halls requires you to complete puzzles and decipher riddles of all types, as most of the doors are locked. Scary puppets, old dolls, and weird mechanisms populate the castle rooms and follow you with their eyes.
Like in the previous game, it all comes down to exploring with the mouse every area of a location until you see your mouse cursor changing into a hand, a magnifying glass, or an arrow, which will indicate when you need to pick up an object, an area of importance for the investigation, or a location that you can move to, respectively. As mentioned above, rooms are locked, so you need to make use of the most ingenious techniques to gain access, from figuring out how to take out a key from inside an aquarium, to literally knocking a door down with a cannon.
Hidden-object scenes, on the other hand, are quite typical; a list shows you the names of the objects you need to find, and upon completing a HOG scene, you will receive items for your inventory, usually elements that will help you solve forthcoming challenges. As you solve puzzles along the intricate corridors of the castle, you will be taking elevators, going through secret passages and tunnels after Felicia's footsteps, and often, you will need to go backwards and revisit scenes several times to pick an object or finish a puzzle.
Souls of the Innocent creates an atmosphere of a particular beauty, not really unsettling nor terrifying, but often combining macabre settings with dark humor, and that sort of childish charm resembling old Tim Burton's movies, if you allow me the comparison. I've personally enjoyed the game a lot, and will undoubtedly include it in my personal top 5 of hidden-object games.
- Great visuals and music
- Nice story
- Fun mini games
- Unique atmosphere
- The Collector's Edition includes lots of extra contents, like wallpapers, screensavers, music, etc
- It would have been great if it included some sort of interactive map to jump from one room to the other, as going back and forward can be a bit tiresome due to the castle dimension