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Yes, that tree has a huge skull on it. For NO REASON ON EARTH

Kids these days have got it easy. I remember sweating for years – YEARS! – over adventure games like Monkey Island and Discworld, desperately combining random objects to fluke my way through the rock solid puzzles. These days, youngsters can just check online and find the solution in seconds. Then close down the game and enjoy a bit of internet filth instead.

 

Red Crow Mysteries: Legion takes things a step further by basically holding your hand and asking “you alright?” every few seconds. It’s one of them ‘hidden objects’ adventures, which to newcomers means ‘adventure lite’. Presented from the first-person perspective of the voiceless, personality-free main character, your primary objective is to scour the screen in search of items that you can collect and combine to gain access to the next area.

 

The plot makes as much sense as a scouser on acid, and basically involves some malevolent force called Legion whose overall purpose is rather sketchy and completely glossed over. In time-honoured tradition, you’re the only person who can stop him from accomplishing whatever it is he’s supposed to be doing. Dead relatives offer vague words of encouragement, between the usual bouts of pixel hunting, and the limited voice acting is fine.

 

Red Crow Mysteries: Legion Environments

 

Red Crow Mysteries: Legion’s environments are nicely drawn, with decent variety – you’ll start off at the family home, before advancing to your grandmother’s old mansion and the obligatory cemetery. Some areas are pitch black and can only be explored using a flashlight, which illuminates a tiny circle around your cursor.

 

My only complaint is the lack of animation and the frankly melon-twisting design. Take the family home for instance – in one room you need to find and arrange three statues in order, at which point a spiral staircase descends from the ceiling. Who the hell lives in a house like this? The creators of Resident Evil? Perhaps a game that lets you chat with dead family members isn’t striving for realism, but titles like Scratches have proved you can create a paranormal adventure game and centre it in a believable, lifelike world.

 

Red Crow Mysteries: Legion – Family Friendly

 

Surreal aspects aside, this game has plenty of appeal for kids, families and anyone who wants a nice easy adventure to play through. While the bulk of the game involves tracking down hidden objects, you also have a few puzzles to contend with, most of which are instantly familiar to adventure fans. Sliding tiles, pyramid boxes and secret codes all make an appearance, and while we’d have liked to have seen more imagination and variety, they’re still a welcome distraction from the pixel hunting.

 

Another reason Red Crow Mysteries: Legion is suitable for kids and families is the customisable difficulty. With three levels to choose from, all ages are catered for. Even in the most difficult mode, which we completed the game on, you have the option to skip tricky puzzles and light up hotspots. Having this option is appreciated as finding every object can be a real bastard, with some hotspots proving ridiculously tiny. Special achievements encourage you to play through without using these hints, a nice touch for trophy hunters.

 

Unfortunately the game ended after just four hours, with no real conclusion to the paper-thin story. The developers were clearly hoping to extend Red Crow Mysteries into a series, but we were a little bewildered and completely underwhelmed by the static end game screens.

 

Red Crow Mysteries: Legion Conclusion

 

If you’re after a horror adventure, Red Crow Mysteries: Legion won’t cut it for you. There are no scares that would trouble anyone over the age of two, and the overall design is too cartoony to imply any threat. Similarly, if you’re after a meaty adventure game to keep you busy in the winter nights, the simplicity and short length will leave you disappointed. However, as a brief but fun distraction for a family, you could do a lot worse than Red Crow Mysteries: Legion.

 

Red Crow Mysteries: Legion System Requirements

 

As most of the game involves searching hand-drawn environments with your cursor, Red Crow Mysteries: Legion’s system requirements are predictably slim. Our old Pentium laptop with bog-standard graphics card ran it fine, although we couldn’t get it started on our shiny new Windows 7 64-bit machine. We’d recommend trying a demo out if you’ve got a Windows 7 PC, just to be sure the game runs.

One of the most annoying locations in the game