High on top of a dark tower, someone important – and in trouble – waits. The tower itself is mysterious and magical, filled with paintings of far-off lands and mystical ancient trees in the wood. In the main room, a stone man tells you that you must save a young girl who holds a powerful magic. And thus, you begin to climb.
When you’ve played a lot of Hidden Object Games, it can be hard to find ones that truly stand out. After all, there’s only so much you can do in a HOG, and there’s only so much story you can tell. As a result, I’m always on the lookout for games that give me something new.
Released in 2009, Drawn: The Painted Tower is the first in a series by Big Fish that tells the story of Irish – an imaginative and adventurous girl whose paintings come to life. Unfortunately, power never goes unnoticed, and someone seems to be after her. Iris, trapped in the tower, is still safe for the time being, but only if you can help her escape. Along the way, there are numerous puzzles of course.
Many of these rely on Iris’s magical paintings – as the player moves up and down the tower, they can enter various paintings filled with people and creatures who all speak highly of their young creator. Flitting back and forth between paintings adds a lot to Drawn’s atmosphere – the game may take place in a dark, lonely tower, but you’ll also adventure to peaceful farms, mystical forests, and even a dragon’s lair. In a genre that relies heavily on beautiful and engaging environments, this detail was so charming and left me wanting to explore all of Iris’s whimsical fairytale lands. It feels more like traveling through a full book of stories than a single game.
There weren’t a lot of traditional “hidden object” scenes, but the ones that did exist were quite enjoyable. Overall the puzzles were smart and fun, though perhaps a little less backtracking at some points would have been nice (or at least faster ways of getting there). In a couple instances, I found it difficult to interact correctly with objects – I would have the right idea but need to find just the right spot to click to make it happen.
I almost never go into a hidden object game expecting a strong, in-depth story. Sure there are some, but it’s usually not the big draw for most players, and many games are somewhat shallow on the story end. Drawn is definitely one of the shallower games, but what it lacks in depth, the fairytale nature of it makes up for that.
With its magical atmosphere, lovely music, and charming puzzles, Drawn is certainly an enjoyable adventure. I’m already looking forward to following Iris’s story through the trilogy.
Order Up! is a weekly column featuring indie-focused reviews, news, or interviews! We like old games just as much as new ones and are always looking for something to check out. Have a game recommendation, a project, or a company you want to talk about? Email me at [email protected] or find me on Twitter @ArcanaChance