"I Spy… A Rather Dull Adventure"
Playing Lost Souls: Enchanted Paintings reminded me of another game I had reviewed a few months back, Treasure Seekers 4: The Time Has Come. If you read that review, then you'll get where I'm coming from. Like that game, Lost Souls is an I Spy-esque game where you search for objects hidden in the scenery in order to solve puzzles.
As well as a similar visual style, Enchanted Paintings also comes with a similar story revolving around someone's search for a kidnapped loved one. Here, the protagonist is a mom who goes searching her son after some jerk of an evil sorcerer traps him in a painting, tears said painting into pieces, and then scatters said pieces across the magical realms located inside other paintings, which the mom has to go through in order to find her son.
As far as plot goes, that's all you get, really. There's little that stands out, with each of the painting realms following the same scenario: protagonist enters realm, learns that realm is in danger on account of that sorcerer guy stealing some object of utmost importance, and eventually discovers and returns that object in return for a piece of her son's painting.
Unfortunately, Lost Souls: Enchanted Paintings is pretty uninspired throughout, and the characters, from the protagonist to the supporting cast to the villain (he comes across more as a thieving, prank-pulling imp than a fearsome sorcerer) are uninteresting and fail to truly keep one invested in the story, as poorly executed as it is.
Lost Souls finds its relief from the weakness of its story with its gameplay, which is highly similar to Treasure Seekers 4, as I've said before. As you explore each realm (which are split into areas each rendered as a series of static images), collect various objects strewn throughout, and use those objects to solve similarly various puzzles and help folk, you will also come upon minigames in which you are given a list of objects to find in an area.
While the gameplay in Lost Souls: Enchanted Paintings is relatively simple, it does include some nifty features, like a journal that keeps track of clues to solve puzzles. The game also keeps track of how many puzzles remain to be solved in all areas, as well as notifies you when there are no puzzles that can solved in any area at any one time. These little details come in handy, since a lot of the time you kind of have to scrounge around without any direction to find an object or a purpose for one.
Ultimately, at the end of the day, Lost Souls: Enchanted Paintings is somewhat of a lackluster experience. There are a few reasons for this, not the least of which is the simplicity of the game. Like I said before, there is occasional challenge, but that is usually due to the fact that something I was looking for eluded my sight. The puzzles (which ranged from putting pieces of a window pane in their proper place to selecting the proper squares on a grid-like map) were relatively easy, only requiring a look at my journal which contained info I had found earlier that told me how to solve it (with the exception of a checkers-style board game puzzle which took a few tries to get right).
Also not helping it is an amazingly short length. If my guess is correct, most can clear Lost Souls in less than three hours, two if they're particularly fast. The length hurts slightly less when one remembers that the game is free, but the additional paid content does so little to extend the experience that it ends up hurting all the more.
For example, that two-three hour time expectancy was based off my time with the $4.99 (on the iPhone) Collector's Edition, which was said to have come with extra levels. I actually played through that version twice because I initially thought I was playing the regular version, due to the short length. Needless to say, I felt gipped when I realized that it wasn't the regular version.
In conclusion, there are better free games out there, folks. Ones that provide you more bang for your nonexistent buck, and ones that don't make you pay an absurd amount of cash for such an absurd lack of additional content. Sad to say, Lost Souls: Enchanted Paintings does little to make itself worthy of space on most people's iPhones / iPads. Plain and simple.
GameDynamo's Score for Lost Souls: Enchanted Paintings (Mobile)
A writer, journalist, and aspiring storyteller, Peter Grimm has been gaming since the days of the Nintendo 64, and reporting on the goings-on in the World of Gaming since late 2011. His base of writing operations is located within the void between Here and There, or so he would have you think.
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