Lost Souls: Enchanted Paintings
Reviewed by Didi Cardoso
Review Date Platform Genre Rating Production
2014-01-19 Android Adventure/Puzzle E (Everyone) G5 Entertainment

When I play a hidden object game, I know exactly what I'm getting into. These are casual games that offer a quick and relaxing distraction while commuting, on a lunch break, even in the bathroom - if you feel so inclined. They are relaxing little adventures, usually with pretty good artwork, lots of little details worth looking at and interesting puzzles to solve. And lately, their stories have become much better. This is another of the stories that perked my interest.

Lost Souls: Enchanted Paintings begins as a single mom receives a mysterious painting as a gift. Overnight, her son goes missing. It is then explained that an evil necromancer is taking over different worlds, contained in other paintings, and that to get the boy back you must collect all the pieces of canvas for the painting depicting him and defeat the necromancer.

The paintings concept works well for the segmented story and presentation of different worlds. This brave mom will encounter fairies, dwarves, pirates, mermaids and other fantastic creatures. The story flows quite well even as Bella moves on from painting to painting. As you talk to the inhabitants of each world and help them restore magic to their land, you will find a bigger piece of the puzzle and what is really behind the nefarious villain.

Lost Souls: Enchanted Paintings plays as a point and click adventure, broken up by hidden object scenes and puzzle solving. The hidden object portion is of course familiar, and it can technically be done with just random tapping until you find everything on the list, but there is no fun or sense of accomplishment in that. Many times there will be hidden compartments in the scenes that are only revealed when you tap the right spot (for example, opening a drawer or pulling aside a curtain), showing more objects where there were none.

The puzzles are clever and require a bit of thinking. Many will have you hunting for items in the hidden object scenes, but there are other challenges such as jigsaw puzzles, unusual combination locks, sorting books, combining items and placing things in the appropriate places in order to proceed. You also have a handy journal that keeps track of clues you find that will help you solve them.

Puzzles can be skipped after a certain amount of time has gone by, but most of them are fairly easy to complete. The game also has a hint system to help you along, lets you know once an area has been complete and all puzzles have been solved, and if you feel completely lost or find yourself stuck, there is an in-game walkthrough that you can access through the main menu.

If you play in Easy mode, spots that have something interesting to find or do will be highlighted by sparkles. Expert mode is the same in terms of difficulty (no added challenges or extra puzzles) and all it does is take away the sparkles and makes the option to skip puzzles take longer. Neither mode is timed, so there is no pressure to complete or achieve something.

The controls don't resign themselves to just simple taps, which helps make the gameplay more varied for this genre. You physically interact with the objects by swiping, dragging, drawing shapes, even opening a lock requires you to turn the key by making a circular motion. The movements always make sense.

I do like when these games offer voice acting, and here we actually have a narrator at the beginning of each chapter. Regrettably, the voiceovers lacked in emotion where it counted, especially considering the fact that the story revolves a woman losing her son. The music was quite nice and very appropriate for the theme, so it's unfortunate that the voice acting wasn't better.

With a few different gameplay concepts for a hidden object game, Lost Souls: Enchanted Paintings was a good distraction for as long as it lasted. Unfortunately, it didn't last that long.