We review Lost Civilization, an adventure-lite hidden object mobile game out now for iPhone and iPad.
Lost Civilization is the latest entry in what we dub the ‘Adventure Lite’ genre, which combines simple inventory and logic puzzles with hidden object scenes. The story is hokum and it doesn’t always make much sense, but with its gentle difficulty level and generous hint system, Lost Civilization is perfectly suited to younger gamers or families who can look past the obvious flaws.
Lost Civilization’s story follows a student architect’s hunt for a mysterious gateway into an undiscovered land, the kind of cheesy fluff that we personally lap up in games like this. The stakes are raised when your boyfriend is kidnapped by mysterious criminal types, who of course have their own nefarious plans for the architectural find. Only by tapping around various environments, finding clues and solving simple puzzles, can you rescue your man and bring peace and harmony to the world.
One of Lost Civilization’s major eyebrow-raisers is that many of the puzzles make absolutely no sense. As an example, one early section has you balancing books on a shelf to unlock a hidden compartment containing a ball of wool, so you can distract a pet cat. And this isn’t a flat belonging to some mentalist, this is your boyfriend’s pad. Perhaps he’s just seriously paranoid about wool thieves.
But then, shoehorned puzzles like these have been around for decades, popularised by classics such as Resident Evil, and younger gamers are unlikely to give a damn. They’ll be too busy gaffer taping a pigeon to a block of cheese to form a portable floatation device. And the confined locations and limited interactivity make it easy to figure out what you’re supposed to be doing next, even if a puzzle solution makes less sense than French Canadian art-house theatre.
Every so often you’ll stumble across a hidden object scene, a Marmite-esque love-it-or-hate-it addition to many casual adventure games. Thankfully Lost Civlilization’s hidden object scenes are well thought-out, and often break away from the bog-standard ‘here’s a list of crap, find it all in this jumbled mess’ routine.
Occasionally you’ll have to match items together, for instance, or employ a little bit of brain power beyond simply scouring the environment. All the same they’re pipsqueak to complete, and we almost never had to use a hint – which is also a testament to the quality of the hand-drawn scenes.
Lost Civilization isn’t particularly long, but it’s a decent diversion for fans of hidden object games, and perfectly suited for younger gamers and families who want to enjoy a gentle gaming experience. You can pick it up on iOS for the iPhone or iPad right now, priced £2.99.