Paranormal Agency: The Ghosts of Wayne Mansion is G5 Entertainment’s latest fix for your HOA addiction. It definitely falls into the more casual side of the scale when it comes to challenge and difficulty. And while the supernatural tones of playing in a haunted mansion are become a bit predictable, you might actually find a few surprises waiting inside Wayne Mansion…and no, it’s not the Bat Cave.
In addition to the standard offering of pixel-hunting hidden object screens Paranormal Agency throws in a few interesting twists, some familiar like jigsaw and logic puzzles, and even a surprising round of Blackjack. And if you need to relax your brain you can always enjoy a ghostly tea party. None of the puzzles are terribly challenging, but if you do get stuck you can always get a hint or skip them entirely.
Your patience will be tested more than your deducing skills since Wayne Mansion requires an annoying amount of backtracking to previously explored areas just to find one small thing that has changed or one item you can now obtain – an item you saw earlier but weren’t allowed to take. Even worse, several of the hidden-object scenes are repeated and you will even find yourself picking up the same objects multiple times.
It wouldn’t be so bad if there had been a master map or some sort of quick-travel, but you will often have to make your way through numerous rooms to reach your destination. It’s just poor design for what should have been a casual and relaxing game. Mindless backtracking is normally found in games that feature random encounters, combat, and level grinding. This game should be all about the destination and not the repetitive journey. I almost wonder if all the backtracking was a not-so-subtle way to pad out the game length of what would otherwise have been only a 2-3 hour experience even on Expert mode – short for $7 and short in comparison to most other G5 adventures.
The graphics are quite good; crisp, detailed, and colorful with great lighting, animation, and effects. You can pinch-zoom some scenes. Sound effects are excellent and there is some pleasing piano music that eventually adds some orchestration to ramp up the tension and suspense. There was a surprising lack of dialogue or voices, which made the game noticeably more silent than most G5 adventures.
Paranormal Agency: The Ghosts of Wayne Mansion feel way too much like a budget title. It is super-short and lacks the production value (no voices) of other competing games yet they are asking just as much for the full-game purchase. While there are a few nice touches to the standard HOA formula, this is one haunted house that can be scheduled for early demolition. Save your mobile money for something more substantial.