Mystery P.I. The London Caper PC CD
Published by: Focus Multimedia
Developed by: SpinTop Games
If you're a fan of hidden object games the chances are you've already played a Mystery P.I. game. There have been a fair few of them and they all pretty much stick to the same formula that SpinTop Games have pretty much perfected. Mystery P.I. The London Caper is the latest title from SpinTop and once again there are no surprises here. There are a few small differences between The London Caper and previous games in the Mystery P.I. series that do add a little extra to the experience but for the most part it sticks closely to the Mystery P.I. formula.
The background for the game is that you've been given seventeen hours to find the Crown Jewels. There were stolen and the thieves are demanding an unbelievable amount of money for their return. There's a £10 million reward up for grabs for anyone who can get them back. In true Mystery P.I. style, you’ll visit a variety of English style locations (of which there are 25 such as Stonehenge, an English pub and a Fish and Chip shop) and have the task of scouring a location to find a number of items. In any given level there are a number of locations and you'll have to find a specific number of items in various locations within the time limit for each level. Once you've found enough items you'll get the chance to solve puzzles to claim a clue. There are nine different puzzles in all and these include Match-3, Tile Rotation, Word Search, Tile Swap and Jigsaw puzzles.
The first time you visit a location, and you'll be visiting a location numerous times throughout the game although the repetition doesn’t seem as bad here as it does in various games, you'll also have to find a key and a crown. Once you've collected twenty-five of each you'll unlock two additional game modes. These are Unlimited Seek & Find (where you'll get to find as many objects as possible in any given location) and a Match 3 bonus game. Neither mode will occupy you for long but they are certainly welcome additions.
So far it's pretty much the same as any other Mystery P.I. game then. In fact the game still has the same complaints of being Americanized in how it names objects and some of these names will seem a little strange for those who aren't from the US. In most instances this won't cause any problems but there are times when you're not exactly sure what you should be looking for. Still if you've played previous Mystery P.I. titles you'll be completely used to the American names for everything by now. I did find it strange though that US power sockets were used rather than English ones in the game’s various locations.
What I found in The London Caper was that you're given vague descriptions for what you need to be looking for rather than simply having every object listed by name. There are times when you'll need to combine objects too. For instance you may need to find a postage stamp and then you'll have to fix this to a letter before dropping the letter into the post box. You don't do too much of this but it's certainly refreshing to see SpinTop do something to try and freshen up the experience somewhat.
The game's presentation hasn't really changed and by now is beginning to look a little dated. The game can be played in full screen or windowed mode but the game only runs at a screen resolution of 800x600 and that's way too low by today's standards. Virtually every PC that still works should have no problem in running the game. All of the game's information is shown visually either through pictures, text or numbers so deaf gamers won't have any problems with the game.
In many ways a review for a game such as Mystery P.I. The London Caper doesn't serve much of a purpose. If you're a fan of hidden object games the chances are that you love the series and you won't care if the latest game is the same old formula wrapped in a new theme. The London Caper only does a little to differentiate itself from previous games in the series and it's pretty much guaranteed that if you enjoyed previous Mystery P.I. games you'll love what's on offer here. It would have been nice to have seen SpinTop shake up the Mystery P.I. formula in a more dramatic fashion but it's a risk to change a winning formula and therefore it's understandable why the game sticks so closely to the series' template.