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Vampire Saga: Pandora’s Box Review (iPhone)

Game Review: Vampire Saga: Pandora’s Box
Release: August 12, 2010
Genre: Hidden Object, Logic
Developer: Alawar Entertainment, Inc.
Available Platforms: iPhone (iOS 3.0 or later), iPod touch, iPad
Players: 1
MSRP: $2.99 (iPhone)
ESRB Rating: 9+ (Infrequent/Mild Cartoon or Fantasy Violence, Fear and Horror Themes)
Website: http://iphone.alawar.com/?p=460

Vampire Saga: Pandora’s Box is a hidden object game that centers on a man and his grandson. The game takes you from late-19th century Puerto Rico to mid-20th century Boston!

The game begins with you playing as Tyler, a strapping young man in a purple pinstriped suit and matching fedora. Your grandpa calls you in a fit of panic and asks you to come over. Little do you know, this fateful phone call determines the rest of your life…

Arriving at your grandpa’s, you immediately begin the search for a way inside the locked house. A hidden object minigame takes over, resulting in a rock being added to your inventory. The tutorial guides you to the window, where you tap the rock in your bag then tap the window to shatter it.

I'm sure all he needs is an aspirin and he'll be fine.

A closer inspection of the welcome mat reveals a hairpin underneath, allowing you to pick the lock! A lock picking minigame ensues, where you must maneuver the hairpin in a circular motion around the lock. Can’t figure it out? No worries—after a certain amount of time elapses, you have the option to skip the lock picking and continue inside.

The foyer at your grandpa's house. Never should have fired the maid.

The animated cutscenes are spread intermittently through the storyline, helping to move the tale along. I wholeheartedly support the use of these cutscenes. I understand this is a hidden object game, but no one wants to get mired in the monotony of finding insignificant items. Every item you find has a distinct purpose, with at the most two different uses. The items disappear from your inventory after they outlive their usefulness, helping you reduce the guesswork.

This is the most non-medicinal medicine cabinet I've ever seen.

The storyline is expectantly linear, but to an extreme degree. If you know what an item will do, use it immediately; hidden object interactions will not occur and the storyline will not progress unless you meet certain checkpoints. There is also a certain portion of the game spent finding bullets to arm a revolver. You have to unearth each bullet separately which is very time consuming, but the dissatisfying point comes when you need to use the gun—it serves no purpose! I felt like that time spent finding the bullets served no real purpose except to serve as filler.

This guy has seen better days.

This game is moderately priced at $2.99, but is a rarity because of its intriguing storyline. This game packs a couple of plot twists that will keep you guessing to the point of confusion. I actually sat next to my girlfriend and we played this together, huddling over the iPhone to find that last object. If you are looking for an iPhone game that offers story and longevity, try opening Pandora’s Box to see what you find!

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