Police are baffled by a series of unexplained cases referred to as, The Vanishing Files, which have paralyzed the city. Enter Cate West - celebrated novelist and insightful visionary! Help Cate find clues, compile evidence, track down the hideout, and name the culprit in more than 75 levels of picture puzzle fun! Are these mysterious crimes connected? And what do they have to do with the tale of the Three Wise Men? Featuring loads of locations to search, an engrossing storyline, and addictive gameplay, Cate West - The Vanishing Files is an original whodunit!
A good detective hidden object/picture game ... solve many mysteries and help Cate learn more about her past. She detects useful information by 'object-touch' intuition and helps the police find people that are committing crimes. You search for hidden-objects in different full-scene locations, gather clues, use the clues to choose a suspect and go to trial. Also, you compare/match scenes and click on what is different between each. In other scenes, you are given a list of pictured-items that need to be 'dragged and dropped' back into the scenes. You collect points and in the final scene, these will decide which 'ending' you see. On the downside, some of the scenes were a bit 'fuzzy' and some of the objects were very small or hidden in 'dark' areas. Also, there was a slight-delay between clicking on objects - you got a 'speed bonus' for finding items fast, but many times you had to wait ... Overall, this was a very entertaining game, could be played at your own pace, plenty of time allowed per scene, hints available and start/stop when needed.
The games at each level are engaging enough (a plus) but rotely repetitive, every level the having exactly the same components in the same order (a minus). The replace-the-missing object is an interesting variation on the usual find-the-difference theme (a plus). But the story line is pathetic (big minus). There is no logic as to why locations are being investigated nor to the significance of objects sought (a minus). Deduce-the-culprit is somewhat challenging (a plus) but there is no motivation for each crime (a minus), let alone motivation for the whole series ( very big minus). The conclusion is completely nonsensical & unsatisfying (mega minus). Note to game developers: you had an interesting concept in basing the game on the Three Magi & employed paintings on that topic but very peripherally. Why not expand that the theme? Design a game for intelligent adults instead of one for brilliant children. Don't waste your considerable talents on schlock!
I won't go into the details of the game as they have been pretty well covered in other reviews. The story was amusing to me and added enjoyment to the game. The objects were relatively easy to find but as in most of the HO games, it has its share of objects that seem to pop out of no where onto the screen after clicking on hints. I found one aspect of the game that troubled me. Sometimes if you clicked on an item it would not move, but move the mouse slightly and click on it again and it was gone. It was rather sporadic in occurrence. Overall I enjoyed the game. The game is a timed game, with ample time to finish each segment of the game. The time increases as the game progresses. If you play HO games to relax, you will enjoy this game.
A good hidden object game. The biggest complaint I'd have is the levels have a time limit, however I still had enough time to do the levels. A lot of games give you so little time you can't even think or look. At least this game gave you some time to look. Over all a good game though.
mmij58 | Added on: July 8, 2009
This was a fun game. Your basic mystery hidden object game. At the end of each chapter you have to find the villain using clues Cate gives you. The frustration is the clues do not always match the villain. For example, the clues may be, brunette, mustache, feathers, chips. Each suspect has a bio that will reveal if he/she has any of the clues associated with him/her. Out of the 8 suspects there is one who is a brunette, has a mustache, works in a pet store (feathers) and plays poker (chips). He has all the clues associated with him. But is he the villain? Nope, it's a brunette with a mustache, who is a lumberjack and likes potato chips. Where do the feathers fit in with this guy? I just scratched my head and went on.
I found this game to be tedious at best. 15 levels with 5 scenes in each level of the same old thing over and over again. The Find the Differences scenes were the most annoying. I also found that you needed to be dead on when clicking certain items b/c many times I'd click on an item trying to find the right spot only to receive a random click penalty. The only thing that kept me at this game was the storyline. I only finished it in order to find out what the "secret" was. It does have some replay value because you can get different endings depending on how you do throughout the game - if you can manage to play it again without minding the tedium. If you have FunPass it might be worthwhile to download it.
Fun HOG, I enjoyed the hokey psychic storyline (though I guessed who "M" was quite early on - but that's not the point). Don't get too hung up on whether the clues make any sense. I liked the additional games: find the differences, add back the missing objects, and guess-the-villain after each round. There's not TOO much repetition in scenes (though there is some). One big complaint: sometimes the clues are wrong, eg the clue is "shrimp" but the object is a lobster (others were "flute"/clarinet, "blender"/mixer, and a few more that I can't remember now) - that makes it really difficult to find, if you're looking for the wrong thing! In one round of "guess the villain" all the street names were spelled incorrectly except for the actual villain - made it easy to pick that one.
The Cate West series is here to stay. I rather enjoyed this. I like mysteries to solve, and the hidden object aspect is fun. At least the objects in question are recognizable, and they avoid putting you in the dark, as thinly disguised clever game play. It is a very nice touch to offer us multiple suspects. It did not disappoint. Wonderful graphics, and very relaxing.
JMR247 | Added on: June 28, 2010
Great game that will last for days! Unique storyline and addictive. It is challenging than most HOG games. Each level has a new scene to explore. Greatly recommend this game to HOG addicts.
Reviewer | Added on: July 16, 2009
This game has an innovative storyline. Cate is psychic & can pick up information about a crime from the "clues" (hidden objects) found at the "scene". You don't, though, get any clue about how she got to this point (perhaps the other Cate West game?). Similar to the game "Clue" you are supposed to deduce the guilty person from Cate's information, which is a fun concept. All this would give this game 4 stars in my eyes, but for two problems. 1) The graphics were designed for a small screen, smaller than average nowadays, making for slightly blurry images. 2) You can't click when the animations are in progress. Let me explain: when you click on a found object, it is highlighted & flies downscreen. While that is occurring, you can't click on anything else. So you wind up waiting for animations to end. Boring. Animations are fun once, OK twice, but after that, awful to wait for.
This was a fun hidden object game even though the story is a bit corny. Sometimes you were looking for objects (that really had nothing to do with the story) and sometimes you were comparing photos (find the difference). And, there was a final section to each chapter where you tried to figure out the culprit. The one thing that I didn't like was that the cursor wasn't very forgiving - sometimes I clicked on an object and didn't get a 'hit'. Later when I clicked on a hint, the object was highlighted again - so I had just clicked on it in the wrong spot (frustrating!!). Otherwise, a fun game!
Its a pretty good quality HOG overall. There is the lame psychic plot, but if you can get past that it plays pretty well. I really didnt like the find the difference portion of each chapter- sometimes the differences were really impossible to detect- even when highlighted by the hint, I still didnt see it. Im not a big fan of other minis in my HOG's but the find the culprit part wasnt too bad, usually if you pay careful attention to the clues you get the criminal first try. Be sure to eliminate any suspects who live on the wrong street first, then click each evidence item and eliminate by the clues. (The first find the culprit I didnt realize the part about the street, or that you had to click each item- just made a lucky guess.) At times the clues betrayed a second language influence, and occasional poor proofreading ("lockpad" for padlock?) but it wasnt so prevalent as to make the game inordinately difficult. There is a timer, but it so generous that I never ran into any time issues and I like to take my time. The fact that you cant click a second item immediately (even though there's a speed bonus) was annoying- but fortunately that's fixed in the sequel, which I played first. (So much for the mystery) Plot-wise it really was lame that a set of random clue objects somehow psychic-ly "pointed to" evidence that was totally unrelated in any manner to the clues. (Huh?) It probably would have been just as good without the sound bites that repeated in every other scene, and the silly anime poses didnt thrill me but that doesnt hurt the overall game play, which was quite long. Some objects were pretty difficult to find but the number of items you were required to find was always just a few less than the total objects in the scenes for the chapter, so you could skip the hardest to find objects and still finish. There is a few places where you have to hit the item very accurately/specifically, but if you click carefully then it usually isnt a big deal. One last small annoyance- once you finish it launches into a several minute SLOW scrolling credits, and no key works to end them or you take you out of them. Once thats done it finally will tell you if you got the best ending or not. Im not sure how many ending versions there are, I got the best ending in both games because I made an effort to never use hints unless I absolutely had to, and tried to always find more than one item before clicking in order to get the speed bonus. (As soon as the item goes off the screen it makes a certain sound & youll know you can click the next one) The bonus window is VERY short though, so youll have to have your cursor ready while its animating.