What I’m Playing Wednesday – House of 1,000 Doors: Serpent Flame

On the rare occasion that I actually finish games, I usually like to play something very casual right afterwards as sort of a palette-cleanser. Since I’m still seeing how much value I can get out of a month of Utomik, I figured I’d download a hidden object game. Serpent Flame is the third game in the House of 1,000 Doors series, and I have already played the first two, so it seemed like a decent choice.

Now, for me, the story is the least important part of a hidden object game, which is what I think enables me to keep enjoying them – almost all of them have stories that range from the mildly absurd to the completely nonsensical. The story (at least as far as I’ve played) is pretty ridiculous here: solve puzzles and find objects to go into portals to other times to help banish the giant snakes that are destroying the world.

No. I didn’t make it up. That’s the plot.

So onto more important things – at least to me. So far I’ve encountered only two types of hidden object scenes – ones with words and ones where you put part of an object or collection with like items. Serpent Flame hits the sweet spots where the hidden object scenes are cluttered enough to make finding everything a challenge, but not made overly challenging with cheap tricks, like flickering lights or an abundance of shadow.

Also very important – you CAN travel by map, which cuts down on a lot of exceptionally slow moving around. The map will, by default, show both locations with available actions and with undiscovered collectibles, but both can be turned off with a simple checkbox. Since I prefer to move swiftly between hidden object screens and puzzles, and don’t care overly much for pixel hunting, I usually make frequent use of the map, and really appreciate the set-up of this one.

I’m about an hour in, just having completed the first of four portals, so I expect I’m probably slightly more than a quarter done with the game (since there was some pre-portal set up work that needed to be handled). For me, the puzzles are perhaps a bit too simple, but I’ll take that any day over frustratingly difficult. There are many kinds of games I like to play when I want to challenge myself – hidden object games are not one of them.

I’ll be surprised if I don’t finish this before the weekend – and I’m unlikely to do a full “Game Over” on it because my experience with hidden object games is that if I haven’t bounced off of it for having one more major issues for me within the first hour, I’ll enjoy it through to the end.

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