I need to get my personal bias out of the way. I really hate hidden item games. Honestly, I just see no point to the games, finding “X” number of items on a single screen. It is hardly exciting and hardly gameplay. With my experience with this genre, it just seems that some developers put little time and care into these further adding to my disgruntled dissatisfaction with these games. Then along comes The Scruffs from Sweet Tooth Games. Quite simply folks, this is how a hidden item game should be made.
Meet the ScruffsWhere does the love come from exactly? Quite simply, The Scuffs has an awesome presentation. The set up is simple enough. The family is getting kicked out of their home after Mr. Scruff loses his job. Grandfather Scruff reveals a chance to save their home, unfortunately he does not remember the details exactly. He mentions that valuables are hidden inside and need to be found. So the game sets up a reason to rummage through and find items. That is an actual set up and motivator to find a set of items instead of an arbitrary reason to find items other than being prompted to by the game. There goes one huge point to the game. Each stage is set up where a time limit is set to find a number of items in various rooms in the house. There is also a mode without a timer that does not track points. You can exit rooms at will and jump between them if you get stuck. Each room has a hidden dog bone which, when used, excites the family dog to help you find items on the list. The more excited the dog gets, the warmer you are to the item. To change things up a bit, each stage has one family photo hidden. When found, the son draws on the photo and you have to identify each new mark. This is basically the spot the difference in the image game that is typical for these games. After each item is found, you then have to fix up a torn photo, the puzzle portion of the game. Lastly, there is one more item to find, being the object depicted in the photo.
So the game is formulaic. It has all the gameplay of the last game of this type I played and others before, yet I am in praise of the game. It goes back to the presentation. Each gaming task has a purpose for the flow of the game, which is just great. The game is also just delightful. The graphics and music are great first of all, and will be touched upon in more detail later. The game starts up with voiced narration setting up the game and introducing the family, each of whom is also fully voiced. The characters and a random forth wall-breaking “Director” steps in and gives tutorials on how to play the game and progress the story. These segments were great fun, with fun jokes scattered throughout. My one complaint is that they teeter off after day two. Instead of bridging each level, completion just throws you into the next challenge. There is little reason to go back after the game is completed, though it could take a good five hours to play through.