Whisper of Fear: The Cursed Doll HD – iPad
Publisher: G5 Entertainment
Developer: Vogat
Release Date: Oct 10, 2012
Genre: Hidden Object Adventure
Reviewed by Mark Smith

Review Score: 3 of 5


Whisper of Fear: The Cursed Doll HD is another major entry in G5’s growing library of HOA games; this one launching at the premium price of $7 assuming you want to play it beyond the initial free trial. The setup is quite creepy, perhaps even sinister at times thanks to the overwhelming sense of depression and dread as you explore a secluded town ripped right from a Stephen King novel.

The game tries to mix up the HOA genre by throwing in a hefty dose of another key adventure game element, exploration. And while I love to explore fictional game worlds there is a fine balance between exploring and aimless wandering, and The Cursed Doll lacks the guidance on where to go next creating a lot of needless backtracking and spamming of the hint button. And with more than 50 locations, there are plenty of chances to get lost, regardless of which three skill modes you choose.

I love the story and atmosphere, and the graphics are outstanding. The hidden object puzzles are very cool and challenging and they throw in 17 brain-melting mini-games to mix things up, but when the greatest challenge lies in just finding out where to go next, the game ultimately skips enough beats in the flow that I sadly lost interest in completing it about halfway through. Even ample use of the hint feature proved less than helpful as it would only give you a hint on what to do after you stumbled upon the proper scene, and the cool-down timer for hints is prohibitively long.

Ultimately, I would just walk from scene to scene and hit the hint button to see if anything triggered then move on to the next location. And even then, the hint sparkles might point to a puzzle that you cannot solve yet because you lack an item, but there is no second or third level hints for where that item might be lurking. I suppose you could peruse the built-in strategy guide that comes with the unlocked purchase, but the one time I peeked at that it revealed a major spoiler.

Whisper of Fear: The Cursed Doll HD has amazing graphics, super-sinister atmosphere, eerie sounds, creepy music, and a haunting story, but sadly, only the most patient of gamers will ever get to enjoy it. It really is a shame because after the first hour I was ready to proclaim Whisper of Fear: The Cursed Doll HD to be the best HOA game of 2012, but after the third hour, which was mostly methodically working my way through every scene and waiting for the hint button to fill, I was ready to clear this off my iPad and make room for something less frustrating and more entertaining.