Hidden Object Puzzle games have never been an interest of mine. I use to always think they were oversimplified set pieces where you would look for a an object just thrown into a pile of junk, rinse, and repeat. So, it’s safe to say Adam Wolfe is the first true Hidden Object Puzzle Adventure, or HOPA, that I have ever played. With that being said, Adam Wolfe is one of the most well put together games I have played in the past years. A supernatural detective in the heart of San Francisco, Wolfe is set into action when his office has been broken into. Leaving nothing but a mysterious watch and photo, it is hinted that Wolfe’s missing sister may still be alive. Taking place across four episodes, Wolfe must help both human and demon alike fight the occult, and even death itself, if he hopes to find the answers he so desperately wants.
I was surprised by the amount of art and realism placed in the world. The desert rocks of the mojave were bright and warm, while the darkest sewers felt cold and wet. A lot of the small details typically missed in larger AAA titles were beautifully detailed and imprinted into many of the different locations. Notably, the boating dock in the third episode leading up to the hobo market was intricate and actually had one of my favorite puzzles located in it; something that I thought was really clever. The people have received just as much detail as well, although it seemed to work against it for me. I think the Uncanny Valley effect took over here and actually made many of the characters creepy. Aam Wolfe would dream of reaching out to his sister, and every time it showed her, something just seemed off.
With the amount of variety shown in the world, it was impressive to see that the mini-games and puzzles somehow found a way to keep everchanging, flowing and adapting to the world around them. Outside of the normal hidden object puzzles, I found myself facing off against sand and fire demons in a match type game, while fighting off a Templar-esque warrior in a game I can only relate to Bop-it. I’ve cheated a monkey at the zoo, and beat out Death himself in a card game. None of these making sense on their own, but somehow finding a way to work together cumulatively. Luckily, if the player ever found themselves stuck, MadHead Games offered a strategy guide which was easily accessible through the game HUD.
Outside of the puzzles, Wolfe’s use of modern technology becomes key. I found myself dusting for fingerprints and sending them off to the SFPD for analysis, while using my detectives sense to figure out the last traces of a suspect. The mysterious watch I had received in the beginning of the game allowed me to temporarily travel back in time to experience a murder first hand; something any detective would willfully hope to have the ability of. I even had the ability to use my revolver if a confrontation had called for it. Some of these things I’ve never imagined to find in a Hidden Object Puzzle game.
From the beginning of the game, the journey has been fast paced. The puzzles found a way to keep me on my feet and the locations always kept me looking for the next object to pick up in a makeshift attempt to open a door, bypass security, or even rebuild a boat. Helping a man save his daughter, reuniting the dead with the living and finally reaching the conclusion were ultimately satisfying, and leave me open to the next journey Adam Wolfe may find himself in.
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