Cubed3 Nintendo gaming, Wii and DS

Jewel Link Mysteries: Mountains of Madness (Nintendo DS) Review

Review for Jewel Link Mysteries: Mountains of Madness on Nintendo DS - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

What happens when you mix the worlds of H.P. Lovecraft, Match-3 puzzle games and Hidden Object scenarios? With so many positive spins on the separate themes, surely amalgamating all three would make a special product? Well, ‘special’ is indeed one word to use for Jewel Link Mysteries: Mountains of Madness. ‘Deplorable’ is another.

Some developers can use various other sources as spectacular inspiration when creating new games, with Silicon Knights’ Eternal Darkness being a prime example, and even the loosely-tied Theresia: Dear Emile on Nintendo DS from Aksys working extremely well. For Jewel Link Mysteries: Mountains of Madness, however, the usually reliable has thrown in one of H.P. Lovecraft’s classic stories and basically hoped that would be sufficient to hold the attention of the gaming populace. If this had been labelled as a simple e-book style affair, recounting a book by the American author, best known for his macabre prose, then there would be no problem. Even if his work or themes had been cleverly worked into a mix of puzzles and exploration, just as was done with one of his influencers, Edgar Allan Poe, for a recent Midnight Mysteries release on DS, it would have been happily received.

Sadly, though, this is nothing more than a badly presented mishmash of genres with some of his writing wedged in-between, namely At the Mountains of Madness, a novella from 1931. Whilst the Antarctica-based story is a gripping one, focusing on haunted mountains, filled with dark secrets and treacherous terrors at every turn, the manner in which it is delivered leaves a lot to be desired. For one, the character art is poorly drawn and the adaptation of the text is rather basic. On top of that, the repetitive programme of events breaks up any sense of tension that may otherwise have been built up.

Screenshot for Jewel Link Mysteries: Mountains of Madness on Nintendo DS - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Each new area has players trudging through an area with a very old-fashioned Hidden Object engine in place, where a large list of items must be found before moving onto the next element. Sadly has failed to update its approach to the seek and find genre, meaning there are no penalties for rapid and random tapping, removing all skill from the process of finding objects, nor is there any time limit or points system in place. Also, only ten items are shown on the list to start with, despite the fact there are always far more than that total to find overall, meaning that even when it is obvious what item may appear next on the list, it cannot actually be tapped until its name appears on the screen after other objects have been cleared. The other problem is that items do not disappear once collected, instead simply becoming fuzzy images, leading to confusion in darker corners of the screen where multiple objects may be close together.

There is then the chance to interact with your surroundings, using particular artefacts to find special gems -- for example, using a pickaxe to break through ice or a large bone to distract a wild animal. The Match-3 element is nowhere near as refined as other pure Match-3 games out there on the market right now, either, and the other handful of puzzles included -- like rearranging scraps of paper to form an image -- are both extremely rudimentary at heart, and possible to skip, again with no punishment. Five or six years ago this may have indeed been passable, but with so many superior examples out there, Jewel Link Mysteries: Mountains of Madness is a major letdown.

Screenshot for Jewel Link Mysteries: Mountains of Madness on Nintendo DS - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review


After so many years of Match-3 and Hidden Object games hitting DS, this level of quality is just not acceptable when there are a ridiculous amount of superior games on the market.


Poor visuals break the sense of tension built by H.P. Lovecraft’s tale.


A very inoffensive, yet equally unmemorable soundtrack.


Whilst the source material may be great, this game spoils a gripping tale with its mundane Hidden Object and Match-3 gameplay. Working through both the Adventure and Relax modes will not appeal to fans of the puzzle genre.

Cubed3 Rating

Sadly it has to be said that Jewel Link Mysteries: Mountains of Madness is a truly lazy effort, failing to improve upon frailties with the developer’s previous Hidden Object and Match-3 products. Instead, both subpar game engines have been shoved together with some H.P. Lovecraft slapped on for show. Unfortunately, the author’s work is totally overlooked due to the insipidness of the game itself.

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European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

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Senior ModeratorStaff Member

I really wanted to enjoy this because I like all three sources of inspiration...but sadly it was old parts thrown together in a poor way Smilie

Adam Riley < Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited >
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter
julie cullen (guest) 22.04.2012 16:56#2

im stuck on this game can't figure out how to use the net to get the green gem can anyone help me please Smilie

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