Coronation Street: The Mystery Of The Missing Hotpot Recipe
As with all Hidden Object Games (HOGs), you have to carefully watch what you see on the screen at any time and this is certainly the case with Avanquest’s new Coronation Street tie-in, as from the moment you pop the disk in it tries to sneakily install a toolbar to your browser. Even if you notice this and uncheck the box, it gives you no such options when it installs an “Installation Update Manager” to your PC’s start up routine that will add a few more seconds to every time you power up. An update manager for a simple HOG? Ridiculous!
Starting the game itself, you are asked to enter your name while it plays the Corrie theme tune, which you will be hearing a lot of as it is played every time you click the “hint” button, something that happens often. Bizarrely, especially for a HOG where the whole point is to examine the picture on the screen and find the hidden objects, the visible game window on a standard Windows 7 setup was half the size of the screen, even in full screen mode. Furthermore there are no video options, so presumably you have to change your Windows settings to increase the viewing area and subsequently muck up all your desktop icons.
The plot of the game is basically to retrieve Betty’s torn up and scattered hotpot recipe and re-assemble it. To do this you visit various scenes from the program such as the Cabin, the garage, the salon, and the Rover’s Return and in each location there are objects hidden which you must click on before getting the chance to find a missing recipe piece.
Between most of the locations you get a terribly executed “conversation” between different Street characters. There is no actual audio at all; instead you get various pictures of characters popping up with speech bubbles driving the dialogue. It is terribly amateurish and shows that the Street actors had no involvement in the development of this game whatsoever. Also dotted between some of the hidden object scenes are some truly awful mini games; complete “no brainers” which will take you seconds to complete. Things like a Breakout game where the paddle only had to be moved 4 times, or a pipe game, that once you arrange the pipes correctly, just says “Well Done!” rather than animate the liquid flowing through it, or how about an 8 piece picture puzzle?
So what about the core of the game? The actual hidden objects are the key to these types of games and you have to make them challenging, but actually possible. This is where the game completely lets you down as the objects are simply impossible to find without using the theme tune playing hint button numerous times in each scene. Considering it takes time to recharge, you will spend a huge proportion of game time just waiting and if you randomly click you will have to put up with the cursor spinning around for several seconds every 4th click as a form of punishment.
While most HOGs use a variety of techniques to cleverly hide objects, they all follow one rule; the objects actually look like what they are supposed to be. This does not happen here. From metre long blocks of green that are supposed to be chocolates, to toothbrushes that are a few pixels of red on a red background, it is like the programmers were overcompensating for the insanely easy side games. Coronation Street: The Mystery Of The Missing Hotpot Recipe is a horrible gaming experience and at £8.00 – £9.00 retail price, a lazy cash-in not worth your money.