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Temptation: Episode 1 HD

Score: 94%
ESRB: 4+
Publisher: G5 Entertainment
Developer: Vogat
Media: Download/1
Players: 1
Genre: Adventure/ Puzzle/ Puzzle (Hidden Object)

Graphics & Sound:

Temptation: Episode 1 HD offers a very unique gaming experience, one that I thoroughly enjoyed. You play the game as a young lady living in a village plagued by an evil fog that covers the area, seemingly consuming any person who is left out in the open. The benevolent Queen Dove once ruled the land with her adopted nephew, the Prince, but her castle was taken over by the Dark Raven, who now sends out the fog to capture innocent villagers… or so it seems.

I think I loved the voiceovers and music most of all. The voiceovers are incredibly believable, especially your character. However, the evil raven that often comes to tempt you to is both sinister and beguiling at the same time. His voice is over the top, but it completely works for the game. You'll also encounter other characters, both in the village as you try to escape the impending fog and in and around the Queen Dove's castle. Once again, the voices are quite believable and realistic, although the localization could use a little work since there were some translation issues in the written dialogue. Background music will change depending on where you are in the game, switching from fanciful to foreboding depending on the situation.

The graphics are very well done and convey a sense of vast decay once you arrive at the castle. However, you are also surrounded by dozens of beautiful gold objects, which makes for an interesting aesthetic clash against the rotting backdrop. There were a lot of fanciful details that had a very "fairytale" feel, while also being creepy and sinister. Clearly, a lot of time and effort went creating the world of Temptation: Episode 1. I especially loved the fact that while in the village, the ever-encroaching fog prevented you from accessing some areas once you had accomplished certain tasks. It was nicely done and really worked to sell the panicked feel of the deadly fog's approach.


Gameplay:

In Temptation: Episode 1 HD, you'll play as a young girl who finds herself out and about when the deadly fog begins to roll into her village. Try as you might, you can't find a place to escape the fog and you are transported to the Dark Raven's castle, formerly the castle of the Queen Dove. Instead of death, as you expected, you are surrounded by strange objects made of gold and intricate puzzles for you to solve. You are constantly visited by a speaking raven who tempts you to take the gold objects that are all around you, instead of helping those in need that you come across while you move about the area.

Your primary goal is to enter the castle to see if you can locate the Queen Dove and hopefully rescue her to restore the kingdom, but the raven and his tricks stand in your way at every turn. You'll have Hidden Object scenes where you'll have to find a list of objects from an assortment of various things. Items that appear in orange on the list require an extra step to locate, but you'll always obtain a useful object that was in the list upon completing the scene.

You'll encounter numerous environmental puzzles in your journey and often, you'll really have to use your head to get past them, but they were pretty enjoyable and clever. One of the main mechanics the game uses is with three magical flowers you will find on your quests. These are used to transform things around you and were quite helpful, but sometimes a little frustrating as well. More on this in Game Mechanics.


Difficulty:

There are three difficulty levels in Temptation: Episode 1 HD. In Casual Mode, you'll be assisted by helpful sparkles in active areas and your Hint and Skip buttons will recharge fairly quickly. You'll also have more leniency in your mis-taps during the Hidden Object scenes. In Challenge Mode, you will find fewer sparkling areas and a slower recharge on your Hint and Skip buttons, with longer mis-tap penalties during Hidden Object scenes. In Extreme Mode, you get zero sparkles to assist you and a very slow recharge on your Skip button, but also no Hint button, no tutorials and no help during mini-games. You are truly on your own and this mode is definitely for the hardcore Adventure/Hidden Object gamer. All of that being said, I found the difficulty level on Casual Mode to be just right, offering me an extremely pleasant experience, while still providing some challenge. Some puzzles you'll encounter are often tricky and require a good deal of thought, but they were fun and really got your brain working.

Game Mechanics:

Temptation: Episode 1 HD uses a lot of the standard mechanics found in Hidden Object Adventure games, like using a sparkle to indicate an area you should investigate or using a group of sparkles to signify a Hidden Object scene, but they also introduce a few new tricks which really kept things interesting. While you are still in your village, you receive three magical flower petals from the tempting raven to aid you in your escape from the fog. Eventually, on the palace grounds you will find the actual flowers that these petals came from and they can do impressive things. The Flower of Gold will make gold objects come to life, while the Flower of Beauty turns ugly things beautiful again. Lastly, the Flower of Growth makes items grow larger. These will come in handy quite often as you encounter objects of gold that block your path, or decrepit things that won't work, or even something too small to allow you to reach a hard to get to spot. You will also use finger gestures often, instead of just tapping. For instance, one puzzle had you gather the ingredients needed to make a pie, then actually bake the pie using finger gestures to simulate stirring, etc. Another puzzle had you using a shadow cast on fabric to create a dress pattern, then cutting the fabric out. Still another puzzle had you pulling straps of fabric down by sliding your finger down the screen to create a fairytale picture. This puzzle was a bit tough, but very creative. What I really liked was that the puzzle would play out so you could see the solution, if you decided to use the Skip button. Sometimes I know how a puzzle needs to be solved, but don't always have the patience to go through the motions.

You will have a Task button to help you on your journey and your task list will be broken down quite nicely in small steps. There's also an Arrow button so you can see what choices you have as far as travel. The Hint button comes in handy if you aren't quite sure where to proceed and you can sometimes use it to get to the correct area, then proceed without actually having used the button up. In other words, until you actually click on the item or puzzle needed to proceed, the Hint button will continue to direct you without "using" your Hint up.

I did experience some buggy behavior with Temptation: Episode 1 HD and it almost always surrounded the magic flowers. Twice, the game thought I had picked up the magic flowers, but the flower didn't show up in my Inventory. I couldn't use the flower to proceed with the game and using the Hint button merely took me to the next puzzle, since the game thought I had the needed flower. I ended up turning the game off in frustration, only to return later to find the flower in my Inventory. This happened numerous times, even after I had obtained the flowers. When this happened, it always ended in frustration, but was never enough to make me stop playing the game permanently. There were also multiple times when I had to tap an item twice to pick it up, so this mechanic could use a little tightening up for the next installment.

I can honestly say that Temptation: Episode 1 HD is great fun and I can't wait until the next episode is released. The storyline was dark, magical and a bit terrifying and played to some of humanity's best and worst traits – kindness and greed. Hats off to Vogat for creating a truly original Hidden Object Adventure. Here's to hoping the dev team can figure out the buggy flowers for the next episode, because I can't wait to see how the story plays out.


-Psibabe, GameVortex Communications
AKA Ashley Perkins

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