SpinTop Games (who are yet another of these companies that seem to mystifyingly sell PopCap games without mentioning PopCap at any point) have released their own puzzly obscurity, madly called Mystery P.I. – Find The Missing The Lottery Ticket.
It is, in fact, a puzzle game in which you are given a list of about ten objects to find in a screen crammed with hundreds of the things. Click on them to find them, collect enough to unlock the end-of-level picture pairs challenge, and gain another piece of a jigsaw puzzle.
It’s really remarkably odd to be unable to find, say, a parking meter in a screen based on a backyard, but the design is quite cute. Objects are hidden with a sense of mischief. This does mean you can give youself an advantage by thinking, “If I were the developer hiding a clarinet in a fire station, where would I place it?”, but this doesn’t always work. There’s a hint button which will nudge you to the right area of the screen for a missing item, but this takes a long time to reactivate. And the other option for cheating is blighted by it penalising you for randomly clicking on the screen. It can tell.
What this has to do with being a Private Investigator or finding missing lottery tickets is unclear at this point. What is clear is that sitting down to have a quick look, it ate my afternoon.
Which is doubly good since this was supposed to be an hour-long trial version, which doesn’t appear to be expiring at all. It seems that they might have put the wrong version up on the game’s own site, OR when I restart it, it will demand $20 from me. [Edit: It told me I had 60 minutes play time left!] But either way, grab it before it gets fixed. In the sense of how a rampant dog gets fixed.