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Publisher: PlayFirst    Genre: Puzzle & Trivia
Min OS X: 10.4    CPU: G4 @ 800 MHz    RAM: 256 MB    Graphics: 800x600

Nightshift Legacy: The Jaguar's Eye
March 24, 2009 | Michael Scarpelli

Click to enlarge

If you look too long at this screenshot, you're cheating. Cheater.
Not that I expect you to be keeping track of the reviews I write here on IMG, but this review is a very fitting complement to my previous review on Hidden Mysteries: Buckingham Palace.

The Nightshift Legacy: The Jaguarís Eye is another hidden object game based on the idea of needing to unravel the mystery of a missing artifact. Itís another title that my wife and I played together, each working through the game at our own pace, and shaking our fists at one another when we discovered the other had a higher score. And though the two of us might disagree on who is the most awesome hidden object finder (itís clearly meÖ and donít take the fact that she canít jump in to this review to defend herself as a problem), weíre in agreement that Nightshift is a pretty great game.

The Story
Hidden object games, being one of the most recent trends in casual gaming, have a tendency to be put together lazily, with a pretty bare bones presentation. However, not so here. Nightshiftís first deviation from the lazy-game stigma is a story that is detailed, compelling and totally integrated with gameplay. The tale follows Mike and Isabel as the unlikely duo pairs up to globetrot and unearth rare treasures. Their adventure has them running from the evil Ramirez and his goons traveling around the world and delving deep into Isabelís family history to find what they seek. These journeys into the past tell the story of her familyís unique travails as they touch on some of the last centuryís more notable historic figures, like Freda Kahlo, Leon Trotsky and Diego Rivera.

The story is also told in an easy-to-digest comic book format. This is a trick that I like in games. It takes a bit more art to tackle, but breaking up story through dialogue and brief visuals is a great way to tell a lot of story and not lose your gamer in a sea of dense text. It makes the story fun and engaging and will help drive you through the narrative on the whole.

The real kicker for me, though, is the integration of the hidden object rooms and the story itself. Itís very clear that these levels have been crafted with the story in mind. You chase a thief to the barn in Isabelís auntís home? Youíre looking for things in a barn. Itís time to dig up a grave? Youíre in a big hole in the ground filled with bones and artifacts. Youíre looking at a Mayan codex for clues? Well, they actually crafted an authentic looking bit of Mayan sort of hieroglyphs for you to look at. The blending of the story and gameplay in this regard really gives the game a nice polish.


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