Turn off the lights, turn up the sound and play the scariest hidden object game ever! In Campfire Legends - The Hookman Deluxe, Christine is heading to her parents' cabin for a romantic weekend with her boyfriend, when her plans go horribly wrong. Thanks to very realistic hidden objects and beautiful graphics, you can now experience this frightening urban legend yourself!
brilliant mix of puzzle, hidden object and adventure game play
prepare yourself for bone-chilling surprises
turn off the lights and turn up the sound for the best experience
Campfire Legends: The Hookman was my first hidden object game. I bought it as part of a two-pack with its sequel, 'The Babysitter' while waiting for someone to arrive at a Walmart. At the time I didn't even know what a hidden object game was, and picked it up on a whim, expecting some kind of horror-themed interactive fiction. What I found instead was my new favourite genre, in which characters search through messy rooms in order to find the clues necessary to escape tense situations and solve crimes. I was hooked right away by this game's story - the framing device features a group of girls telling stories around the titular campfire, with the action taking place within the story being told.
As for the story itself, it's a classic of the genre - girl goes to a spooky cabin with her boyfriend, they're menaced by a man with a hook for a hand, and they have to take extreme measures to escape him. What separates Campfire Legends from generic versions of this story is what a strong lead character it has, and how well she deals with the obstacles that she comes across. Christine is simply the handiest horror heroine I've ever encountered. Lights out in the cabin? She'll track down fuses! Radio shattered by a madman's claw? She'll jury-rig it with spare parts from a broken television! Car has a flat? She pulls out a jack and a wrench! While it's clear that all of these character traits are determined by the kinds of puzzles that the developers wanted to include, the end result is that Christine winds up being characterized as incredibly competent and self-sufficient, and absolutely never feels like a victim. It's a nice twist in the genre. Her only weakness seems to be her fondness for her incredibly shady boyfriend Patrick, who disappears from the story at key moments, acts super-suspicious, and manages to convince her to head out for a romantic fire by the lake when she already knows that there's a hookman on the loose. Ah, young love.
Now, the HOG judging criteria!
Criteria 1: To what degree do the puzzle screens look like a thrift store vomited on my monitor?
Not by any measure. It a little unfair to grade Campfire Legends games based on these criteria, given that they were developed with these games specifically in mind. Still, I'm already here, so... The environments in Hookman are completely believable because the developers went out of their way to make them completely internally consistent. I've been in garages and sheds as cluttered as the one in the game, and the cabin itself is a mess because a hookman recently trashed it. The developers really went the extra mile to make sure every location makes complete sense while still being enough of a mess to provide for satisfying hidden object searches.
Criteria 2: Are the searches justified by the premise/story?
They are absolutely, 100% justified. Christine is never asked to look for anything she doesn't absolutely need. Sometimes that's rocks to scare a cat, sometimes it's car parts, and sometimes it's pieces of an ornate sliding block puzzle; it's never random dross designed to pad out the running time. Christine has lots of minor obstacles to overcome throughout the game, so there's plenty of searching to be done, but it's never arbitrary or pointless - and I can't stress how far this goes towards pulling players into the game. By never asking Christine to locate five playing cards, a roman numeral, and a series of books, the game creates a grounded sense of place that's so often lacking in other titles.
Criteria 3: How well do the various puzzles and object searches meld together to form a coherent whole?
Better than almost any other HOG. Christine finds herself faced with entirely relatable problems and solves them in completely logical ways. Things can get a little wonky when the occasional puzzle box appears, but by and large everything in this game follows a totally sensible path, which reinforces the characters and situation to the point where I'd go so far as to call it one of the best stories in hidden object gaming.
That's not to say the game is perfect - it's at times crippled by a frustratingly outdated hint system. Rather than offering players the standard refilling bar, The Hookman asks them to track down difficult-to-find 'fireflies', with each one revealing the location of a single missing item, or a clue to its location, if they're not on the correct screen when the firefly is used - that's right, the game doesn't even offer free hints if players are on the wrong screen. It's inexcusable. Even worse is the puzzle skipping - bad at block sliding puzzles? The game will allow the player to skip them - at a cost of five fireflies - which is as many as can be carried at one time. It's a terrible system which mars an otherwise spectacular hidden object game.
I can't recommend this one highly enough - it turned me into a lifelong fan of the genre, and if the fiddly hint system is overlooked, it's the best that hidden object games have to offer.
I downloaded this game based on the good reviews and the buildup of it being a popular game. BIG mistake. The game is slow to advance the story, there are minigames that are stupid (the power's out & I'm not alone, but gathering my clothes is more important than fixing the fuses??), and the gameplay is stilted and illogical. This is NOT a good game.
GREENUMS | Added on: October 29, 2009
Good Game! Way too short in terms of game play. Finished in 1 hour!
Jaquebullet | Added on: December 11, 2009
Nice game but FAR TO SMALL. Completed in one sitting and felt under-whelmed by the end.
beekie | Added on: November 6, 2009
Though it was addictive, in that I didn't want to stop playing long enough even to pay for my free download, the huge disappointment is that it took me only 2 hours to finish the game. It's now obvious that the game is intended to be spun off into other games - there are way too many loose ends to tie up for this to be the end of it. That said, there are also some confusing aspects and some 'order' that you must follow to solve certain problems or finish certain aspects of it. The order is not clear and can be frustrating. But I wish there had been more parts to the game.
The story keeps you going and the music increases the tension. There are even points which make you jump. Lots of fun.
msheath | Added on: October 27, 2009
This game was ok, but not for me. It's too slow. I couldn't even finish the demo.
Twan | Added on: October 15, 2009
Finally a game that isn't childish! Great (scary) hidden object game. Great story and beautiful graphics.
GroomerGirl | Added on: November 2, 2009
Sort of annoying to navagate between screens, but overall it was fun, and a good blend of hidden object and sometimes tough puzzles.
ladynorth | Added on: October 23, 2009
I was pleasently surprised playing the short demo of this game. Right away it had me very envolved. There were plenty of items to find and a puzzle to solve all withing the first 10 minutes or so of play. The game was a bit too eerie for a young child though. I loved the adventure aspect where you had to go from one scene to another to find items and not just stuck to one screen at a time. I am seriously thinking of getting this one.
I thought this game was fun, but if it would have been a free one hour I would have finished it for free. Disappointed I spent $7 on it but overall it was fun.
rbon | Added on: October 31, 2009
Really enjoyed the little challenges along with the search for the hidden objects.
joan | Added on: October 16, 2009
it was confusing at first, once I got the idea of the game the 30 minutes were up. Pretty good however so far.
Lapra64 | Added on: October 30, 2009
i thought it was kinda short, but for kids or fist times (to seek and finds) i tought it was really good.
smelleecat | Added on: October 15, 2009
This game is awesome. I'd be surprised if it wasn't created by the same makers of mystery case files. It's user friendly, very addicting, a little scary, with hidden object and puzzles. It's 100% worth the money especially if you have game ticket.
snetz | Added on: November 3, 2009
This was a little confusing to start. Once I understood that you will need to go from scene to scene to find items, things got better. A lot of secondary puzzle boards that you can't do anything with until you've completed something else but there is no indication that you have to do something else first. Would like to see some incentive to play again, like a timer or points.
stsimmonsnc | Added on: October 23, 2009
I enjoyed going to different scenes. I really had to use my mind on the fuse puzzle. I like the tips.
GamerMom1379 | Added on: November 5, 2010
I enjoyed this one. Kept me on the edge of my seat. I would definately recommend it. Can't wait to play the next one.
thbrinkley | Added on: October 26, 2009
Not a game I would be interested to play on a regular basis. I like a more fast-paced game. But for Halloween or just to be scared like sitting around telling ghost stories, this might be the game for you.
Breezia | Added on: November 2, 2009
The storyline was very good and you really had to think to find all of the clues and do the mini puzzles. All-in-all it was a good game. I recommend it for anyone who likes hidden objects and puzzle games.