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Mystery Trackers: Black Isle
Game Review

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Mystery Trackers: Black IsleRating: 4.5/5.0  

The Mystery Trackers detective team is once again called in to investigate a possibly paranormal incident in Mystery Trackers: Black Isle. A TV reporter has gone missing while reporting from an earthquake-torn island, and the violent and magical nature of her disappearance has prompted you to take on the case. Use your skills to navigate through the ruins of the island and solve diabolical puzzles as you attempt to rescue the reporter and confront her assailant!

The (familiar-sounding) Black Isle – developed by Elephant Games - is the 3rd installment in the hit hidden object adventure game series that began with Mystery Trackers: The Void and continued with Mystery Trackers: Raincliff. Like its predecessors, you are a member of the Mystery Trackers team, tasked with investigating weird events that may involve the supernatural. This time, your investigations will take you to an island that was recently abandoned due to being devastated by an earthquake.

A TV reporter has traveled to the Black Isle to report on the aftermath of the earthquake. Unfortunately, the last available camera footage shows her being violently abducted by a mysterious-looking hooded figure. As you arrive on the island to investigate, you catch a glimpse of her colleague being abducted as well - hoisted into the air by the hooded figure and vanishing without a trace. With possibly more lives in danger and faced with an opponent with magical powers, you need to comb the island and find out who is abducting these people, and why.

Mystery Trackers: Black Isle

" ...live actors are employed to
make the cutscenes even more
realistic. The live action and
the art combine very well... "

You will spend most of your time exploring the vicinity of the Black Isle Hotel and its many facilities including a curiosity shop, theatre and cafe. Throughout the game, you will be doing your best to locate and rescue the abducted victims. Unfortunately, you will be dogged by the hooded figure at almost every turn, threatening you and warning you not to interfere. He will also be sending lots of magical and dangerous pyrotechnics your way, causing lots of damage and hindering your progress.

Like other hidden object adventure games, you will come across lots of items and tools that you can pick up, and plenty of puzzles you need to solve in order to progress. These objects are primarily used to interact with the environment to overcome obstacles, or are used as components for puzzles that you need to solve. These puzzles are mostly composed of the standard puzzle types, but are different and unique enough to still be quite engaging and entertaining.

The game does include a fairly unique mechanic though when it comes to hidden object scenes, of which there are quite a few. You are still asked to look for a whole list of random cleverly-hidden items, but with a bit more complexity thrown in. There will sometimes be some items that can’t be found until you do a bit of manipulation first. The thing is you actually have to do the manipulation using items that you pick up from elsewhere in the game. For example, a statuette won’t be reachable until you manage to open the crate containing it using a crowbar you picked up 15 minutes ago. This additional layer of puzzling is a very welcome mechanic to break up the monotony inherent in standard hidden object scenes.

Mystery Trackers: Black IsleOne part of the game that really sets it apart is its absolutely stunning art and animation. The art and scenery are beautiful, though you can only put so much beauty into a place torn up by earthquakes. The animations and cutscenes are in another class of their own; the waves breaking on the shore and the fireballs coming your way are gorgeous and very realistic. And like Elephant Games’ other hit hidden object series Hallowed Legends, live actors are employed to make the cutscenes even more realistic. The live action and the art combine very well to deliver a very striking and enthralling story.

However, the live action isn't entirely perfect and does have a few issues. In the few instances when the characters speak, their voices don’t exactly match up with the movement of their mouths. The acting is also a bit too over-the-top, but that’s probably expected in a story such as this. Other than that, there aren't any noticeable issues in the game… except for some weird logic such as having to drag a wheelbarrow up a ladder to transport some machinery…

Those small issues aside, Black Isle is a really engaging game with an interesting supernatural story and plenty of special effects. It is definitely a solid sequel in the Mystery Trackers series, and is another great production by Elephant Games. You will love it if you like similar mystery games involving the supernatural, such as the Hallowed Legend series.

You can get the basic version of the PC game, or you can get the Collector's Edition which includes exclusive extras such as bonus gameplay, and integrated strategy guide and more. Or get the basic version or Collector's Edition of the Mac game.


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