Updated: Jun 9
It’s easy to say that hidden objects games are easy to make. They are typically simple and may have a puzzle or two to break up the game play. It can’t get any more casual than that. There is no need for an imaginative story if your goal for an hour or two is to kill time. Well, in the instance of this collection of games, imagination and creativity is a tool and a conduit to save an entire world from darkness.
The Drawn Trilogy is a hidden object point and click game developed and published by Big Fish Studios, a company built on this genre of games on PC and mobile phones. Where Drawn succeeds in is creating a bleak and tragic world without color and then shows off locales like out of a fairy tale. Its hand drawn and computer animated graphics are breathtaking to look at with an accompanying soundtrack to match.
Now, I bought the Trilogy collection, meaning that there is a larger story to get through in each one to two-hour game, depending if you are running through them quickly with skipping certain puzzles. So with that in mind, here’s the summary, starting with Drawn: The Painted Tower, then Drawn: Dark Flight, and lastly Drawn: Trail of Shadows. You are a stranger who finds themselves drawn to a lone tower in the middle of a harbor city named Stonebriar. The entire world is covered in darkness and you are tasked with finding and rescuing a girl, Iris. She, as told by her guardian Franklin, is the true queen over Stonebriar as opposed to the present Dark King. Iris’s family had a rare magical gift that allows the to step into different worlds when they either paint or draw a picture or create a whole theatrical set. Through using brainpower and some puzzle skipping, you finally reach the top of the tower to where Iris awaits. Ultimately, you help Iris through many challenges and regroup with her in order to light the three beacons of Stonebriar and drive the King out of the kingdom and crowning her queen. Trail of Shadows follows the same path, though you are driven to help a small boy with the same gift and save him from an evil wizard through a painted world.
The gameplay in Drawn is point and click, meaning that the environment is yours to explore and poke around. In every scene there are objects you can interact or pick up for use. Sometimes in between scenes, you are required to solve puzzles to progress to the next area. They range from super easy to mild to annoying. With each puzzle solved, the game progresses until the end. It’s linear as all get out and there is no need for any branching pathways. What else would you need?
I love the collection simply for the music, artwork, and aesthetic. The dark shadows mixed with cello music and violin makes this game imaginative with its core facet being art, music, and writing can change the world. When you start the game or go on a marathon, the soundtrack is what gets you first and hooked into the game. In Dark Flight, particularly, you get to add onto the music in the- surprise- music and theater district through the puzzles and interactive objects.
Now, to air my grievances, the first game- The Painted Tower- is well-paced and has a few hard puzzles. But Dark Flight on the other hand, is a bit of a hot mess. As a direct sequel, it must continue continuity of the original game. So, it does the right thing and expands on the world of Drawn with the player exploring the different districts and locales of Stonebriar. But then it ends very quickly and appears to be dramatic. But it’s not. It’s saddening to have the final journey be cut for a cutscene and then have some bonus content only exclusive to the collector’s edition tacked on at the end which is a glorified backtracking collect-a-thon mission. At least in Trail of Shadows it has a decent area that adds to the story rather than take away.
If you want more substance to a casual hidden objects game, look no further than the Drawn trilogy. It’s a good collection of games that you can kill time with for an hour or three if you breeze through it with ease. Its imaginative locales, puzzles, and story captures the mind and heart of creativity.