You’ve got mail…and it means a new detective job for you. This time it’s at a nice, seaside resort (sort of); Port Providence needs your sleuthing skills.
Left in the Dark: No One on Board is another in a series of games featuring a female detective set on the track of mysterious deeds and charged with uncovering the truth. The mayor and the harbormaster briefs you on the situation; a ship went missing, but now it has come floating back with no cargo and no crew. Your job is to find out what happened. By the way, this sort of thing seems to happen every 10 years. Hardly coincidental.
As you start poking around, you encounter a few interesting locals, including the floating spectral form of a young girl who, not surprisingly, is warning you to not go on the ship. So, let’s get on that ship! As with the other G5 puzzle games, you will have to find and acquire certain items to proceed with your investigation. There are some hidden object puzzles and a few logic/problem solving puzzles along the way. The hidden object puzzles are standard fare, and a couple of them listed items that took a bit of searching to find.
The logic puzzles aren’t too difficult in this game, but do provide some variety. The game also includes the obligatory notebook and map so you can keep track of clues and move quickly from place to place.
The last bit of help the game provides is the Hint button which can point you in the right direction when you get stuck. Speaking of getting stuck – if you get really stymied on a logic puzzle, there is an option to skip it and keep moving with the game. The only things you lose are some points and achievements.
The story is decent and contains enough detail to be somewhat engaging. However, the voice-over parts are a bit lackluster, and the lip-syncing is awkward. Overall, however, the audio is pretty good and the sound effects are well done. The visuals are what we have come to expect from G5 games—a lot of static (or mostly static) images that are very colorful and well rendered.
One gripe I have (pay close attention all you developers out there) concernts the multiple pop-ups asking if I would like to submit a rating of the game. Stop putting these requests in the middle of the game! There were at least four pop-ups in this game, and they really are annoying. If you want the average player to submit a review/opinion/rating, ask when we are exiting, not in the middle of game play! Also, always, always, always include an option to not be bothered with that request again. While it may be flattering to have someone value your opinion, how and when you go about getting that opinion is just as important.
Now that I have that off my chest, the game is capable of being moderately entertaining while posing enough of a challenge to keep the player engaged. I could easily play these puzzle games straight through until I finish them, except I usually have to go back to work or plug in because the MacBook battery is getting low.
At a modest $6.99 (to unlock the whole game) it’s a good way to kill the evening.
Developer: Artifex Mundi
Mac Publisher: G5 Entertainment
Compatibility: OS X v10.7.4
Network Feature: No
Price: Free ($6.99 for full game unlock)
Availability: Out now