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Inbetween Land HD

Score: 78%
ESRB: 4+
Publisher: G5 Entertainment
Developer: Specialbit Studios
Media: Download/1
Players: 1
Genre: Adventure/ Puzzle (Hidden Object)

Graphics & Sound:

Inbetween Land HD is an adventure/ hidden object game that takes the player to a mysterious floating island that appeared over the city a while back. While most believe the island is deserted, your character goes looking to solve its mysteries when a beam of light goes between it and the orphanage you used to stay at.

Inbetween Land has a charming setting that feels a lot like something you would see in an ancient city, except that it has a dash of strange technology with a very steampunk feel to it. The various locations are detailed and really sell the feel of the game.

As for the audio aspects of Inbetween Land, the background music and sound help to keep the setting going, but typically stay out of the way of the rest of the gameís presentation. The voice acting of the few characters you will meet is passable, but isnít anything really spectacular.


Gameplay:

Inbetween Land HD takes place sometime after a large floating city appears over the town. The place seems dormant, but one day a beam of light is seen going from the Earth to the city. As it turns out, that beam came from your characterís former home, and when you go to investigate, you find than an old friend has disappeared. With a little effort, you piece together what the missing friend did and then find yourself on the strange city yourself. Now you must find your friend and figure out how to get back home.

Inbetween Land offers an interesting selection of puzzles. You will find yourself dealing with everything from rotating tiles to make a pattern, to mixing chemicals, and good-old-fashioned putting the right inventory item in the right place. These puzzles are interspersed with the occasional hidden object screen, but these are far less frequent than in similar games. As for the hidden object screens themselves, Inbetween Land puts an odd twist on the gameplay style to make it more appealing to adventure gamers, but more on that later.

Inbetween Land doesnít offer a long gameplay experience, and once the overall objective becomes clear, the game doesnít ever leave you wondering what the next step is. The result is a game that seems to end much faster than some might like.


Difficulty:

Inbetween Land HD has a steady level of difficulty throughout. I never found a puzzle so hard that I simply threw my hands up and quit, but there were some that were more challenging than others. These were typically variations on other standard puzzles with a bit of an added difficulty. One particular example is a sliding tile puzzle, but instead of showing you a picture to set right, each tile has a symbol on it and you have to put them in the right place based on the marks on the side of the puzzle, or under the tiles themselves. It really is no different from a standard sliding tile puzzle, but having to remember what symbol is where on the bottom adds a bit more of a challenge. Plus, sliding tile puzzles are a personal weakness, so they pretty much always aggravate me.

If you happen upon a puzzle that is too difficult, the gameís Hint button will let you skip the puzzle and continue the adventure. The same Hint button will show you where hidden objects are in one of those rare screens, as well as actually tell you what to do next if you just wandering around outside of a hidden object screen or puzzle. Like most games of this type, the three difficulty levels change the cooldown time of the hint button, so more experienced adventure games can either ignore it, or force themselves to take a longer time solving the problem before giving up.


Game Mechanics:

While Inbetween Land HD fits the hidden object/adventure game mold pretty well, it does offer one mechanic that I havenít seen before, and it is that change that helps it to stand out a bit.

Instead of having a hidden object screen that simply shows you a scene and provides you with a list of random objects to find, Inbetween Landís list contains pieces that need to be put together. The list itself is grouped by what the pieces go with, and once youíve found all of the items in that group, the pieces change into the combined object. From there, you place the new item somewhere on the scene to help complete the setting in front of you. Sometimes, this will reveal some missing piece for another group, or sometimes it will open up a compartment containing a necessary inventory item.

In my mind, this is a new way to blend the hidden object and adventure genres. Where most games simply add hidden object screens to the adventure world and spit out inventory items, in Inbetween Land, the adventure genre actually influences the hidden object screen. There are no random objects, and each completed group acts as an inventory item to that screenís puzzle.

While I would recommend Inbetween Land to any adventure fan, I feel that players who slant more towards the hidden object genre might not find it as appealing.


-J.R. Nip, GameVortex Communications
AKA Chris Meyer

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