In Valerie Porter and the Scarlet Scandal (I keep typing “Reporter”), you play a new journalist in the 1920s who deals with prejudiced males who think women should not be in certain jobs and a scandal involving politicians and starlets. This hidden object adventure game comes with a few twists and a fascinating story that’s sure to win over experienced and new hidden object adventure gamers.
Valerie starts her job with the local newspaper. Even though a female is a star reporter there, she paid her dues, and she’s no ally of Valerie’s. Valerie ends up in plenty of hot water as she pokes her nose where it doesn’t belong. She digs deep into the case involving a famous starlet, the mayor, the chief of police, a boxer and a director.
In the search for the truth, Valerie schleps around town visiting police station, mayor’s office, the gin joint, her apartment and other spots. She’ll study the scenes for clues that appear in the list of things to find. A lot of them, however, have nothing to do with the story. The game also tries to make the object finding harder by describing items instead of giving you their names, such as “hand warmer” for gloves and “cuts things” for scissors. If an item’s name or description perplexes you, click it to see its silhouette.
Another twist is finding multiple items of the same type such as newspapers, umbrellas and so on. Press and hold the mouse button and touch each for bonus points. You can do this when Valerie rides the train to travel to another location or in a scene asking you to find X number of items.
You’ll also search for two batteries in every scene to receive additional hints as well as 100 bells. When using up a hint, you still have to wait for the light bulb to fill back up before you can use another. If you don’t find all 100 bells by the end of the game, you’re out of luck unless you have the patience of Job and can replay the entire thing.
Valerie Porter and the Scarlet Scandal lets you feel like a reporter as Valerie types up stories with your help. The typewriter enters a few words, and then you select the word or phrase — from a list — that should come next in the story. Once you finish the story, you set the headline filling in the blank slots with the metal plates like they did in the old days. So pay attention to the story or else you’ll end up guessing the words until you get them right. What a clever way to ensure you follow the story.
When you have interactive conversations with the suspects and city officials, sometimes you’ll need to figure out the next line for Valerie to say. Rather than guessing, you have a puzzle where you trace the “correct” answer to the right statement by following the curvy lines. It’s a nice way to involve the player in the dialogue. You also do word searches based on conversations you’ve had and other mini-games. Most of the mini-games do repeat, but at least it’s not to the point where it becomes tedious or monotonous.
You revisit scenes and see the same objects when you revisit, but you rarely (if ever) have to find the same objects you’ve found before.
You’ll develop photographs by lining up two overlapping photos. This was difficult to figure out at first as the game didn’t accept the work — it looked clear. But after a few tries, it came together.
The scenes reflect the culture and design of the 1920s with gorgeous graphics with a touch of art deco. Valerie Porter and the Scarlet Scandal is an excellent production that’s a pleasure to play. While not without a few annoyances, Valerie Porter and the Scarlet Scandal keeps you captivated through all aspects of the game — something few games manage to do.
FTC Discalimer: Copy received from publisher.