Cubed3 Nintendo gaming, Wii and DS

Junior Mystery Stories (Nintendo DS) Review

Review for Junior Mystery Stories on Nintendo DS - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

The hidden object genre on DS often gets criticised for either being too easy or not transferring well enough from the original PC edition to the smaller screen of the Nintendo DS. For Junior Mystery Stories, though, developer Uacari has built a game from the ground-up to make best use of the DS hardware, whilst aiming the project directly at the younger end of the demographic scale. Has the approach paid off, though?

Junior Mystery Stories impresses right from the off with its well drawn, impressive visuals and interesting characters, as well as its surprisingly strong soundtrack. With the initial positive foundation already laid, the story begins to unfold, with the adventure taking place around an old, mysterious manor house in which a young girl by the name of Rachel lives. Her Uncle Albert is a well-travelled archaeologist who returned from a successful trek across the South American Jungle where he uncovered the lost ancient Mayan village of Tikaca, only to then disappear when back home. As it happens, Albert’s mistake was to remove a sacred tablet and strange looking toy doll from the Tikacan temple…and so the mystery commences.

Players take on the role of the niece, Rachel, who must work her way around the eerie mansion with the help of Mooki, the doll her uncle brought back, which conveniently talks and offers advice about how to hunt down her missing relative. Whilst wandering around may seem like a simple task, the curse that has been drawn towards the manor has led to almost all of the rooms becoming locked with only special keys able to prise them apart once more. Therefore, Rachel and Mooki must first of all clear lots of clutter from different areas they encounter, search out key items that fix broken lock mechanisms, and uncover elusive symbols that are craftily tucked away into the surrounding scenery. The overall objective is to find all the segments of the sacred tablet that has been scattered around the house, in the hope of bringing back Uncle Albert in one piece.

Screenshot for Junior Mystery Stories on Nintendo DS - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Everything is set against the clock, with an initial sixty minutes on offer, making it seem like Junior Mystery Stories is an extremely short title. However, in reality, each time a piece of the stone tablet that Uncle Albert is trapped within is found, more time is added to the clock. Players must err on the side of caution, though, since too many incorrect taps on the screen results in the time running down faster. Hints are available via the Y button, which shows exactly where one item is hidden, but they are not open for use immediately in each stage. Instead, the magic ball on the upper screen must fill completely, with its progress being slowly updated on the top screen.

Hints cannot be used in some places, though. For example, when moving to new rooms there are special keys that must be located, and to add challenge you cannot simply tap the hint button to progress. Another aspect related to the room changing process is how one of 16 mini-games must be tackled, all of which are appear very basic in nature to start with, such as having to tap notes as they fall down past the specific line on a musical score sheet. However, they quickly become far more entertaining, with, for instance, players needing to guide a butterfly’s flight across a side-scrolling stage filled with obstacles, or even take part in an enjoyable version of the classic mobile phone game Snake.

Even though Junior Mystery Stories is predominantly aimed at the younger generation, there is actually enough variety and challenge included to appeal to any age group that has a penchant for the hidden object genre and engaging mini-games. With 19 hidden rooms, 90 hidden object scenes, 10 chapters to work through and 16 mini-games to tackle, Junior Mystery Stories’ curse of the manor will actually prove to be quite the blessing in disguise for DS owners everywhere!

Screenshot for Junior Mystery Stories on Nintendo DS - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Gameplay

With smart use of the touch-screen for object finding and mini-game completion, clear-cut visuals to ensure finding items is not bothersome, and a surprisingly enjoyable, if somewhat light, storyline to follow, Uacari has succeeded in making Junior Mystery Stories a great all round title.

Graphics

Clear visuals, interesting characters and plenty of variety in the hidden object locations visited along the way.

Sound

Thematic tunes that add a definite air of mystery to proceedings, with the only drawback being how short some of the tracks are and how often they are consequently looped.

Value

Despite seemingly being aimed at the younger end of the market, Junior Mystery Stories offers enough challenge to appeal to any age group and includes some extremely fun mini-games as well.

Cubed3 Rating

7/10
Rated 7 out of 10

Good - Bronze Award

About this score
Rated 7 out of 10

Junior Mystery Stories is not the most enjoyable hidden object game the world has ever seen, but it goes to show what a developer can do if it chooses to build an entry into this genre from the ground-up with the smaller DS screens in mind. Junior Mystery Stories succeeds in delivering an adventure for the younger audience whilst not sacrificing any of the quality along the way.

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19.06.2011

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Developer

Uacari

Publisher

Avanquest

Genre

Puzzle

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date TBA   Japan release date TBA   Australian release date TBA   

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Jimmy D (guest) 07.07.2011 21:14#1

Is this anything like the two Mystery Stories DS games?

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