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Micro WIT: Snark Busters

First person to try hidden object in 3D wins a nothing.

Look, I don’t much care if you disapprove of Hidden Object games. There’s kerbillions of us who think they’re great, and if we all formed together into one giant robot we’d be able to crush your puny army with our mighty object-finding fists. And we will. Snark Busters: Welcome To The Club is a rare example of an attempt to deviate from the core concept (search locations for a list of objects under the auspices of a plot so tenuous that Dan Brown would find it shameful), that succeeds in proving rather a lot of extremely silly fun.

Rather than a list of stuff to find, Snark Busters has you seek out parts of objects, which when combined create a usable tool in the scene. So gather all the hidden bits of a hammer (hidden by the usual disguises of placing them against similar background scenery, and changing their size so as to be less obvious), and you can use it to smash a vase. Assemble a cog and you can have a machine run.

Parts aren’t always available to find right away – anything unavailable is highlighted in your list in red, and either requires you find whatever is obscuring them (unlock a cupboard, scare away a bird (surprisingly often) or very frequently, complete tasks in another scene before returning). There’s seven levels, each with multiple scenes, and each with scenes mirrored in a peculiarly purple alternative world. This gives more opportunity for connected puzzles – completing tasks in one version opens up new things to find in the other.

The story, and that’s “story” used so tentatively that it might crack at any moment, is about a girl who runs away from her authoritative father on a hunt for the elusive Snark. This, of course, causes her to transport herself through mirrors to strange locations, while her father at home panics that she has been kidnapped.

However, if anyone can finish the game and tell me what a single moment of it had to do with hunting, or indeed busting, a Snark, I’ll be awfully grateful. It just sort of stops, as if it forgot what it was about, and credits start rolling.

Still, for $10 it’s a good two to three hours well spent. It looks lovely, the music is great, and there’s that hypnotically relaxing fun of scouring the screen for that elusive object only to discover it was in the middle of the picture, three feet high. There’s an hour-long free trial too.

Hidden Object Appreciating Giant Crushing Robot: GO!

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John Walker

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One of the original co-founders of Rock, Paper, Shotgun, I'm now a senior editor and general hero of humanity.

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