Review: Mirror Mysteries

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Hidden object games are generally a pain in the ass to review, because it’s rare for one to be really obviously good, and slightly less rare for them to be outright bad. Most fall into a middling area where they do the bare minimum to entertain but don’t bother to innovate or polish. Mirror Mysteries falls squarely into that gray area, doing a few things different from its contemporaries but ultimately lacks the length or quality to actually be good. As a very basic hidden object game I can recommend it, but know that there are plenty of other titles that do more and do it better.

Surprise, surprise, you play a cheerful mom on a road trip with her two kids. Seeking to win the coveted Parent of the Year award she stops by a mysteriously crooked house for a picnic and promptly falls right the hell asleep. When she awakens her kids are obviously nowhere to be found, and exploring the house reveals them to be trapped within a broken, talking mirror. If mom can reassemble the mirror (and tidy up some fantasy realms along the way) then they can all get back to their road trip and forget this ever happened until their therapist digs it up decades later.

Mirror Mysteries is broken into seven areas of four or five scenes each. While you can move around the scenes within your current area there’s no exploration outside of that. Each scene has five objects to assemble from the proliferation of junk lying around. Not all of these can be found on your first visit, though, as you might need items from another scene to unlock parts of the one you’re on. There’s some basic backtracking between scenes because of this, but the game helpfully informs you of how many objects you can fiddle with on the map, and clearly states when there’s nothing more for you to do at a location.

With very few actual puzzles and no other gameplay systems to speak of, Mirror Mysteries is about as close as you’ll get to a pure hidden object game while still allowing you to move about (a bit) and have an inventory. The scenes themselves are interesting and detailed, if not very colorful, and the items you seek are usually in logical places rather than painted onto things. Since you’re assembling items to use, the parts you have to find aren’t always very exciting either, so prepare to click for lots of wooden planks and leaves and even some basic rocks.

Unlike a lot of hidden object games you’re not alone here, as each area has an NPC that fills you in on their plight with some decent voice acting. That’s really all for surprises, though. There are no difficulty options or bonus modes, little more than a single scene at the end, and no journal or achievements or… anything, really. Mirror Mysteries is pretty outdated even by hidden object standards, and if the item hunts weren’t so logical and solid there would be no reason at all to recommend it. But they get the job done, and the journey will last around two hours or so, and in this genre that’s about all you need to succeed. If you’re in the mood for some basic item hunting with no frills or distraction, Mirror Mysteries is a decent choice for hidden object purists.

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