One of my favorite games is the Hidden Object Game (HOG). The idea is to find concealed objects and work out mini logic puzzles while usually solving a mystery. Since many of the HOGs I play contain preternatural themes, I decided to write the occasional review.
Phantasmat begins with you, the player, driving a car that crashes in a remote wooded area. Wandering through the forest, you meet a Young Woman who tells you to go to the hotel and call for help. But the Hotel Owner confesses with the electricity out, the phone won’t work. Even after getting the electricity restored, the phone remains dead. You have no choice but to stay in the hotel, where you meet the Old Woman. (Incidentally, the Young Woman works at the hotel too.)
Unable to leave and drawn to the tragic history of the town, which was destroyed in a catastrophic flood, you become embroiled in discovering the secrets of the hotel’s three inhabitants. And they all have secrets they’d rather you didn’t find out.
The character designs are among the best I’ve seen for a HOG. The backgrounds are richly detailed, giving the game an almost cinematic quality. I found the puzzles challenging but not frustrating to the point I wanted to give up. (And there is a walk through available if you get stuck.) Although the puzzles remain the same, the hidden objects change from game to game, so you can replay if you like.
Although I can’t speak for other game sites, Big Fish Games lets you play an hour free trial of their HOGs. If you’re interested in mysteries with a touch of the macabre, Phantasmat might be one to check out.