I don’t think that anyone would be surprised if I said that this was a crap game, but what gets me is just how bad it is.
So the concept is that Betty has lost her recipe and you have to find it. The plot and general character interaction throughout the game is delivered via a series of photos with text below. For some unfathomable reason the images are cropped so that often people visibly have half their arm chopped off. The lack of any voice dialogue means that the introductions to each level are incredibly dull. The plot itself (Betty lost her recipe) is hardly exactly exciting or compelling and having levels based around tidying up someone’s room is hardly stimulating stuff.
The gameplay involves going to various locations within the show to play hidden object levels to find various random items and on occasion a bit of the recipe. To mix it up a little there’s also 8 mini-games. You would think that this pretty basic gameplay with the ability to visit famed sets and the Corrie brand would make this a shit but simple game that for a fan, might be okay for a fiver. However somehow the developer has bollocksed it up!
You would think that the game involves looking for various objects hidden in amongst a range of different objects, some perhaps with similar appearance… a bit like the old Where’s Wally? Books. To some extent this is true for The Mystery of the Missing Hotpot Recipe. Each level has a load of objects scattered around and a list of specific objects to find. However some of these are very transparent making it not only a challenge to locate the items in amongst everything else, but also just to see the thing itself. This is more of a frustration than a challenge and a very strange design decision. What makes matters worse is that objects get resized and positioned in the most random of places. A tin of beans might be 95% transparent over a tin of paint or maybe a 97% transparent beer mat reshaped to a rectangle and placed over a window. What on earth possessed the developers to do this? Without knowing that this pile of crap does such stupid things, no one would click on what is quite blatantly a bottle of milk when looking for a thimble. Even if an item was opaque, it didn’t mean that it was visible. Many were hidden behind other objects and not visible. Whilst expecting everything to be fully visible is daft as it would make the game too easy, it is fair to expect that there would be something distinguishable about an item visible. Having one corner of a coffee machine visible is not sufficient to identify it as a coffee machine.
The only reason that I ever found these items was due to the “Hint” feature and by “Hint”, the screen went greyscale except for one random item so rather than being a hint it was more of a pass. I’m not entirely sure but there may have been another hint feature. When misclicking a few times, which is common when looking for practically invisible items, the mouse cursor is taken from your control and goes in a big spiral. It was always central for me, never guided me and was just an annoyance. There was no real point to it, aside from discouraging me from guessing and instead relying on the Hint, which had a recharge.
Thankfully the game isn’t just about finding objects that you can’t actually see. There were also 8 mini-games but sadly these weren’t much fun at all. Whilst they weren’t frustrating or broken like the main game, they were just too easy. They were the sort of puzzles that we see scientists give to monkeys to test their spatial understanding. Being given a dozen objects of various shapes and then asked to fit them into the appropriate gaps is just insulting to my intelligence.
Finally I thought the one chance for a saving grace would be the Free Play mode. A race to find the items against the clock sounds like a decent mode right? Well sadly there’s no clock or even record that you’d been back through them. In other words if the main game hasn’t bored you silly, this will eventually get you. To be fair, each play through (main game & free play) does randomise the items to find and the puzzles but they are still dull and with no objective, why even put in a Free Play? A high score or some type of grading system for a puzzle is games design basics and yet another thing missing from this absolutely rubbish title.
When I ordered this, already reduced before launch, I knew it wouldn’t be a great game and as someone who didn’t watch Corrie, or any soap for that matter suffice to say I am not the target market. However given the target market is also the main market for Facebook games, I wanted to have a look to see what goes into the game as I may find myself working on a title like this one day (plus I found the name absolutely hilarious! ^_^). Suffice to say, the game is bad. Very bad. Even with my current programming & art skills I could probably make something better. This game is so bad that I would recommend FarmVille over this rubbish!
I give it a -3/10.
(Can I do that?)