Melissa K. and the Heart of Gold Collector’s Edition
Gameplay 7
Graphics 7
Sound 8

If you are not a fan of the genre then Melissa K. And The Heart of Gold is probably not going to change your mind, but it has plenty to offer those that do enjoy these type of games. Considering its mobile origins the visuals are actually pretty good and the gameplay is diverse enough that you are not only spending your time scouring screens for hidden objects. The story didn’t have us complete hooked, but as a whole we can recommend this title to anyone that enjoys a polished casual gaming experience with plenty of replay value and extras.

Gameplay: A nice blend of adventuring, puzzle solving and hidden object scenes.

Graphics: Very detailed and featuring some exotic locations.

Sound: Good music, nice sound effects and solid voice acting overall

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Melissa K. and the Heart of Gold Collector’s Edition

Developer: SDP Games | Publisher: KISS ltd |Release Date: 2014 | Genre: Adventure / Casual / Indie | Website: Official Website | Format: Digital Download

When London professor of Archeology, Melissa K, receives a personal letter from the queen prompting her to go to Thailand she is eager to accept. Apparently, she is required to work as a tutor for a young monk, but shortly after her arrival her student disappears. At first Melissa is skeptical about his vanishing, but soon discover that sinister things are afoot and that there might be a lot more at stake than what she ever imagined.

Set in 1947 Thailand, Melissa K. & The Heart of Gold is a title that blends adventuring, puzzle solving and a handful of hidden object scenes with a distinctive Indiana Jones vibe. Although originally a mobile title, its features a very respectable PC conversion that should please fans of the genre. Since there are quite a few of these types of games on the market it can be difficult to stand out from the pack, but Melissa K has a couple of things in her favor.

Visually the game employs a mixture of 3D objects and a hand painted art style to create an interesting look for the more than thirty locations you’ll be visiting. The exotic setting for the game also ensures that most of the locations are quite eye-catching. The game has full support for widescreen resolutions, which is not always a given with casual titles. It is played from a first person perspective, so you never really see Melissa interacting directly with anything except during the cinematic cut-scenes. Instead of completely static screens though you can pan your view in this game which gives each area a more 3D look. There’s no freedom of movement however, so each area has a couple of screens that you click through to explore. With so many hidden object titles on the market that look and feel like they have just been churned out for a quick buck, it’s nice to see the amount of polish and detail that was lavished on this game. The graphics won’t blow away players used to the latest AAA titles, but for casual players this is a step up from the usual fare.

Although the game features plenty of hidden object screens, there are actually plenty of other puzzles as well. Most are of the “find and combine items” type, but sometimes you’ll have to manipulate 3D objects or solve some interesting mini-game style puzzles. We really enjoyed the diversity of the puzzles as it kept things interesting even during parts where it felt like the story was dragging its feet.

During her adventures Melissa will discover items such as spyglass to zoom in on faraway objects, a flashlight to illuminate dark corners and even a little Gecko that she can use to retrieve items from places too small for her to reach. With three difficulty levels, which influence the ease of the puzzles, whether interactive areas are highlighted, how fast hints are recharged and whether or not hidden object scenes have a click penalty, this is a game that players of all skill levels can enjoy. On the easiest setting the hints recharge very quickly, and the game even has a full step by step strategy guide, complete with pictures, included in the package.

Experienced players can opt for the “Expert” setting if they want a challenge and there are also a couple of nice Steam Achievements to aim for. The game even supports Steam Leaderboards and you can replay the puzzles as well as hidden object scenes directly from the main menu. This allows you to aim for better time and accuracy scores which adds some replay value to the game. You can also listen to the soundtrack or check out the artwork and cinematic scenes you’ve unlocked from the main menu, so the game really feels like it offers a complete package with plenty of value for money. Card collectors will be happy to hear that the game supports the Steam Trading Card feature.

The audio of the game is very fitting with some nice relaxing background tunes and tons of sound effects. Some of the spookier locations in the game are made even better by the atmospheric sound effects. We generally enjoyed the voice acting although some of the conversations felt a bit slow and pointless to be honest. Although initially designed for touch screen devices the game works well using a mouse and we never had any issues with the controls.

Some of the story elements in Melissa K. & The Heart of Gold are quite farfetched, but that is the nature of the genre. The supernatural elements such as ghosts and the like allow for some interesting scenarios, but overall the storyline never really had us hooked. The fact that there is so much backtracking between scenes because new items appears after solving certain puzzles also leads to some repetition. However, the detailed art style and diverse puzzles kept us coming back for more and fans of the genre will certainly appreciate what SDP Games accomplished with this title. It has some interesting characters, exotic locations and a challenge that is as hard or easy as you want it to be. If you want something that is a step up from the usual bland hidden object titles then Melissa K. & The Heart of Gold is not a bad option.

System Requirements

  • OS: Windows XP or Newer
  • Processor: 1.5 GHz or More
  • Memory: 512 MB RAM
  • DirectX: Version 9.0
  • Hard Drive: 2 GB available space
  • OS: Mac OSX 10.6 or Newer
  • Processor: 1.5 GHz or More (Intel Processor)
  • Memory: 512 MB RAM
  • Hard Drive: 2 GB available space

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