American Pickers: The Road Less Traveled
Developer: Big Fish Games | Publisher: Big Fish Games | Release Date: 2012 | Genre: Hidden Object Game | Website: N/A | Purchase: N/A
American Pickers, Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz have been making quite a name for themselves in their hit History Channel television show. In case you have never seen it, their adventures take them across America as they track down antiques and collectibles gathering dust in people’s garages and sheds. The formulae lend itself perfectly to a hidden object game and so you join the team as the newest member of Antique Archeology.
American Pickers: The Road Less Traveled is a very straightforward hidden object game so fans of the genre should know exactly what to expect. You travel to various locations where you have to find and click on items that are listed at the bottom of the screen. Once you click on the correct item it is crossed off your checklist. Each screen is filled with a jumble of items to make it harder for you to find the right objects. There are no time limits or penalties for clicking on the wrong items, which makes this a very laid back game. Most locations you visit have multiple screens, but overall the game is quite easy to complete. In the unlikely event that you become stuck you can ask for a clue which will show you exactly where an object is hidden. You have to wait for the clue meter to refill before you can use it again but it does so quite quickly.
Once you have found every item on the checklist you can activate “picker-vision” to find a special item hidden on the screen. Even this is made much easier due to the sparkles around the object. I was expecting the buying and selling part of the game to set it apart from the competition since it is such a big part of the show. Instead of negotiating a good price however, you simply select one item as an “ice-breaker” and then “bundle” the marked items together before purchasing what is left. This aspect of the game is really a missed opportunity. You do not get to set the sale price for items either as everything is automatically sold when you return to the shop. This means that there is no strategy involved at all.
There is some banter between the characters like in the TV show, but it is all text based. The only sound clips appear to be ripped directly from the show and end up sounding very random. The locations appear to be based on some familiar spots from the show as well, but the visuals are a bit disappointing. The hidden object scenes all look nice enough, but characters are all portrayed by lifeless stills. The scenes are mostly static as well apart from some sparse animations like rain. I rather liked the ambient sound effects though, and the bluegrass tunes playing in the background are catchy but limited. Once you are done with a scene you’ll have to return to it again later to find smaller objects for collectors that want something specific like tools, antique golf clubs or guns. This adds some more challenge and longevity to the game but not much.
It is really a pity that more was not done with the license as it had so much potential. I know that it is a casual game and not some AAA blockbuster, but since the genre is so crowded already, it takes just as much effort to stand out. Fans of the television show will enjoy seeing the characters and locations, but might end up yearning for more depth and a better challenge. If you are looking for an undemanding game to waste a few minutes on then by all means try American Pickers: The Road Less Traveled, but it would be hard to recommend this game to fans of the genre looking for something fresh.
*Review originally published in 2012.