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iPad Game Review: The Mystery of the Crystal Portal HD

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This was previously available on the iPhone and now comes to the iPad. What strikes this user right away is that the style of this game is very retro, and just not in the sense of the storyline. It very much reminds me of those point and click adventures so prevalent in the early days of computers.

Sadly its just as clunky to play. The game is rather hard to get to grips with at first and the instructions are downright useless. You get two hints every pre-determined amount of time, something I was rather unable to determine. However, if you want to get more hints, you can buy them for extra money from the game companies online shop. A caveat should anyone wish to buy this game for a child. Charging for extra hints seems a bit manipulative, if the intended audience for this game is what I think it is. It also repeatedly asks you to go to Facebook and “play with your friends” which can be quite annoying.

Despite the chunkiness and frustrating learning curve, the game does have its moments. Now I would be amiss if I did not admit that I never got past the learning curve before giving it up. This game is getting a far more positive review because my wife gave it a go and got into it. In fact she managed to play it to the end. Once you figure it out its not that bad if a tad repetitive at times.

The basic gist of the game is that you have to find things to help the main character discover the portal that gives the game its name. You also have other tasks which involve prisms, clock mechanisms, a combination of pieces to unlock a door and ultimately a set of triangles that you have to place correctly so they replicate the 'father's diagram' and find the crystal.

Graphically its quite unimpressive not using the extra oomph from the iPad in any form. In fact one of the frustrations of the game is the fact that it is sometimes hard to see objects needed for the game as others obscure them. You might expect the makers to take more advantage of the graphical power of the iPad, rather than just racing out a new version of an old iPhone game. It feels cheap and tacky, which is unfortunate on such an impressive device.

Ultimately, after playing it awhile my wife actually rather enjoyed it. It caught her enough that she wanted to play the game to its finish. It’s a game that requires patience and some adjusting to its quirks. If you are capable of such adaptation then the game is fun enough to hold your attention. The storyline is a bit weak, but there is sufficient impetus to keep you moving along with the game.

This game is probably recommended for younger girls who are patient enough to deal with its quirks. If you are engaged by the game it will keep someone amused for many hours. There are parts that might require some teamwork as well, to give the player an extra set of eyes. I must say it was amusing to see both my mother and wife trying to figure out how to do something in the game.

It might be dated looking, frustrating at first and of limited appeal, but the right player just might enjoy this game quite a bit. A niche title for sure.

This game is rated 4+ on iTunes.


This game can also be found on: iPhone & PC.

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About Marty Dodge