Reviewed: July 24, 2010
Released: July 9, 2010
App Store Price: $.99,p>
I loved reading adventure and murder mystery books growing up. The sense of adventure intrigued me and that was probably the main reason I started playing titles like MYST and Monkey Island when I was younger. Some 20 years later, I still play these titles because they are fun and challenging. The Jim & Frank Mysteries: The Blood River Files, the newest iPhone release by publisher Chillingo and developer 99Games, proves to be just that kind of title I enjoy.|
The story follows young adventuring friends Jim and Frank, not unlike a well-known literary duo, as they embark on their yearly adventure on Jim's birthday. His grandfather's yearly test will take them on an adventure to uncover the secret of Blood River. These two characters Jim and Frank could never be more different. Jim is the smart and polite one and Frank is always hungry and a bit impolite at times. Their combined traits make them a great team and perfect for this adventure.
The Blood River Files is a classic adventure title complete with an interesting story that is presented with hand drawn characters and scenes. The interface used is super easy to figure out and I ran into no sensitivity issues at all. The developers did make the navigational part rather easy to the point of having an arrow pointing to the person or place that you needed to interact with though.
Like any good adventure game there are plenty of puzzles to keep you glued to your iPhone/Touch/Pad for some time. The Jim & Frank Mysteries put the iPhoneís touch screen to good use with a pleasant variety of puzzles. A lot of your classic puzzles are there including slider, light pattern, volumetric puzzles as well as a few surprises along the way. One of these surprises is an object-directing puzzle where you must direct vehicles into their corresponding bays much like those airplane runways games on the iPhone.
Besides the puzzles there is a sort of hidden objects mini-game that spans the entire game as well. Hidden throughout almost every still backdrop are Eurekas that are sort of like a currency to be used or not in the puzzles. Like the name suggests you can use these Eurekas to unlock up to two hints about the puzzles at hand. Players can even skip an otherwise game-stopping puzzle if they have enough Eurekas to do so. Donít have enough Eurekas, then no worries. There is an in-app system that allows you to purchase Eureka packs at three different denominations with real money starting at $.99 cents.
The graphics of The Jim & Frank Mysteries are wonderfully hand drawn and designed. There are animated cutscenes done in the same style throughout the title such as the transitioning from night to day. The characters mouths actually move to the spoken dialogue. The voice actors do a great job of bringing these characters to life when the game actually calls for them to speak, like the sheriff. The sound effects and music are also really enjoyable, though if youíre in a public place ear buds might be advisable as the music can get a bit repetitive, but thatís not really a bad thing in this titleís case.
The Blood River Files retails for an outstanding introductory $.99 cents on the app store which is one heck of a deal with all that this title has to offer. The puzzles included in this title are no pushovers and every bit a challenge. If a person wanted they could possibly bypass most of the puzzles by purchasing Eurekas but that sort of takes the fun out of things. On top of the regular puzzles there is also a jigsaw puzzle to solve as well as cue card unscramble puzzles where you unlock pieces by doing the main game puzzles.
The Jim & Frank Mysteries: The Blood River Files may very well be THE puzzle adventure game that people have been looking for on the iPhone. Easily in the same league as Professor Layton on the DS and Blue Toad on the PS3, The Jim & Frank Mysteries was an instant hit with me with its challenging yet fun gameplay and great visuals. I highly recommend getting this title as soon as you can.