Anyone looking to finish the year off with a bang and lots of fun should head straight for Mystery Case Files: Dire Grove. This point-and-click game tells the story of four friends who are graduate students filming their adventures only to run into trouble. The friends have disappeared and you find their movies dispersed throughout the captivating game.
In England, you run into a snowstorm where you come across an abandoned car with a video camera just outside of Dire Grove. Naturally, you can’t help but become curious and investigate the four friends’ claim that the legend of Dire Grove is real. While you won’t see a big leap between this one and Mystery Case Files: Return to Ravenhearst, it takes on a whole new story that comes together nicely with a satisfying ending. I wasn’t too happy with the ending Mystery Case Files: Ravenhearst. Return to Ravenhearst is good, but it’s not a stand-alone story like Dire Grove.
Some scenes require you to find items that appear in the list — like in hidden object games, but then you’ll be rewarded with something you need for your travels. One of the strengths of the series is that you can go any place you wish. The only time “order” matters is when you need to find something before you can move forward. You’ll see sparkles appear in scenes, which indicate you need to explore the area.
The setting goes far and wide, although it won’t look that way in the beginning. Then you discover openings to bigger areas as you explore and check everything possible. For the longest time, I made no progress because I had overlooked a barely noticeable door in one of the rooms. You may get stuck at times when you have everything and yet, can’t progress. Do not give up. Keep looking around and touching everything or ask for a hint. Sometimes you just miss a step. Hints are almost always available, but you’ll need to give the hint meter a few moments to refill.
I’m not a fan of horror films, so I can promise you that those who feel the same won’t have a problem with this one. The films only make up a part of the action and I’m grateful they came with closed-captions. When I first heard about the game and its use of video, I freaked because my experience has been that most things don’t come subtitled.
A couple of short phrases that didn’t have captions, but you can find out what was said with a little research. These little quotes aren’t detrimental to the story. Do pay attention to the videos because they give you clues that can help as does your casebook, which captures your notes of what you’ve seen. The film also has some jerky action, not too agreeable for this gal who gets dizzy easily.
Considering the Mystery Case Files: Dire Grove takes place in England, the actors also have a British accent adding to its authenticity. The whole production reels you in making you feel a part of the game. A Collector’s Edition is available, which offers bonus game play, challenge and achievement system, tracking down 50+ objects that change shape and a strategy guide.
Mystery Case Files: Dire Grove is a superb game that will entertain you for a full day, a wonderful way to spend a winter day huddled around the computer and staying warm even though the most of the scenes are frozen.