Blackwood & Bell Mysteries is a new hidden object game for Facebook from Gardens of Time developer Disney Playdom. Playdom aims to give the genre an "edgier" feel with Blackwood & Bell Mysteries, toeing the line between realism and popular mythology such as vampires.
By Pete Davison From Inside Social Games
Blackwood & Bell Mysteries is almost identical to other popular hidden object games on Facebook. Players alternate between building up a patch of land — here referred to as an "Evidence Yard" — and visiting various locations to find hidden objects. In the building section, players acquire "reputation" for placing structures and decorations, with various reputation milestones needed to be met before unlocking further hidden object scenes.
Blackwood & Bell Mysteries doesn't do anything especially innovative in the hidden object genre. The Sleuth Challenges and clue items are a good addition, but don't make a huge difference to the core gameplay, which is otherwise almost identical to other hidden object games on Facebook. That said, it is a competent title with good production values, and the effort that has been made to infuse the eponymous detective duo with a degree of personality and characterization helps encourage players to engage with the game world and its narrative.
A likeable cast can be a strong contributing factor in encouraging players to return to a game after they have given it an initial "trial run," and Disney Playdom is obviously counting on this fact to distinguish the game from its numerous rivals. Gardens of Time fans will likely flock to a new hidden object game as the genre remains popular on Facebook, though whether or not Kline's hope that the game will "broaden the market" pays off remains to be seen.
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