CSI: Hidden Crimes
I’ve always been a fan of Hidden Object games. You know, the ones where there is an environment crammed full of items and you have to find a list of specific items in order to solve a mystery? While there have been a number of decent Hidden Object games on PC, there haven’t been too many on smartphones that have grabbed my attention. ‘CSI: Hidden Crimes’ from Ubisoft takes the Hidden Object formula and shakes it up a bit, adding in a variety of puzzles, clearing up a lot of clutter and presenting it like a series of episodes from the popular TV show, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. Unfortunately strange design choices that all-but force players to spend real-life money hold this game back from being one I would recommend to anyone.
It starts off promising enough, with CSI‘s D.B. Russell introducing you to crime scene investigation. You are presented with a list of items to find – some obvious and others less obvious – and you are then tasked with analyzing the possible evidence you have gathered. Unfortunately you don’t have to be psychic to guess that the body floating face-down in a swimming pool is the body you’re looking for (and I’d be alarmed if there were other bodies at this pool that the staff found acceptable), and that the muddy footprints in the corner are also worth investigating.
After you’ve found every item on the list (even the unrelated ones, like the wooden dolphin in the background) you then have to analyze them at the lab. In the tutorial, this all happens instantly, and you are pretty much given your first murderer on a silver platter. Dead body has rope marks, rope nearby has fingerprints, fingerprints belong to the man who argued with the victim the night before. Even the TV show isn’t this obvious…
After the first case, things open up a little more, but this is where you should fear for your wallet. Investigating scenes rewards the players with stars, which are then used to interrgate suspects and analyze evidence. Now I don’t mind microtransactions in games – if they’re done correctly, but in CSI: Hidden Crimes, no amount of dilligent investigating will give you enough energy to play the game at an enjoyable pace. You must purchase energy to play uninterrupted, or without waiting for unbearable amounts of time. In a way, the microtransaction hook is clever – no one wants to leave an investigation unresolved, no one wants to leave a murderer out on the streets, but with obvious evidence, suspects and a game that ultimately offers no challenge, CSI: Hidden Crimes just isn’t worth playing.
- Slick cartoon art direction
- Obvious puzzles, no challenge whatsoever
- Feels as though the game was solely designed around microtransactions
When it comes down to it, there are much better games out there for you to play on your phone and tablet. It’s a shame that a game with so much promise has been used as nothing more than a vehicle for microtransactions.
Score – 3.5/10