Two decades ago, Myst set the standard for point-and-click adventure games focusing on hidden objects, gorgeous backdrops, and intriguing story lines. Since then, there have been countless copycats and knockoffs.
The Treasure Seekers series from Big Fish Games, while not forming a direct parallel to the Myst games, does include some similarities. The games are beautiful, the plots interesting, and the main objective is to search and find random objects while solving the occasional puzzle along the way. Unfortunately, at least in the case of Treasure Seekers: Visions of Gold, it’s missing one key ingredient: fun. That’s not to say that there’s no enjoyment to be had, but much of the game is spent simply tapping every conceivable spot on the screen looking for that elusive item. And it won’t take long before you’re tapping the “Exit” button.
But let’s begin with what Treasure Seekers: Visions of Gold does well. First of all, this is one beautiful game. Just look at those screenshots. Everything is rendered so wonderfully that after ten minutes of tapping away, I had the irresistible urge to go antiquing. Each room and hidden area you uncover welcomes you with lovely animation and an undeniable charm. And with the iPhone 4’s Retina display, Visions of Gold is certainly one of the most striking games I have ever experienced.
The game centers on a girl named Nelly and her brother Tommy as they discover that their grandmother was a pirate. As they explore their old house and the surrounding areas, they uncover all sorts of secrets, including treasure maps, mysterious keys, and curious puzzles. This story of childhood wonder and adventure will certainly appeal to gamers who remember going on treasure hunts as children, and unraveling the mystery of the children’s grandmother will almost be enough to keep you going through the end. Almost.
Unfortunately, at its core, Treasure Seekers: Visions of Gold is little more than a search-and-find game. Every room you enter looks like the wall at your local Applebee’s, with scads of random junk tacked to the walls and ceiling. And it’s up to you to meticulously scour every nook and cranny of every room searching for absurdly random items that somehow magically allow you to progress to the next area. While the game is certainly beautiful, playing for too long may require you to head to the optometrist to bump up your prescription. Fortunately, there’s an HD version available on the iPad that requires a little less squinting. And if you’re too impatient to find that last remaining item, simply hit the “Hint” button and you’ll be shown the way.
When you’re not sifting through junk like a guest star on American Pickers, Visions of Gold contains short and relatively simple puzzles. This aspect of the game is definitely a missed opportunity. While there are some head-scratchers included, most of the puzzles consist of simply arranging broken items or guessing which object goes in what spot. Those who have mastered the brain-twisters of Myst and other top-tier PC adventure titles will likely breeze through what’s found in Visions of Gold.
Bottom Line: Though it offers up a relaxing, penalty-free game experience, Treasure Seekers: Visions of Gold is also quite monotonous and doesn’t have much to offer seasoned adventure gamers.
Treasure Seekers: Visions of Gold is compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Requires iOS 3.0 or later.