Whenever a major holiday is just around the corner, it’s no surprise that a flood of related products hit the market just in time to grab the attention of consumers. It happens with almost everything, from food to toys to lawn ornaments, and video games are no exception. While it’s not fair to knock a product for being a blatant holiday cash-in, it is completely fair to do so when the product isn’t worth it’s own weight in chocolate gold.
Easter Eggztravaganza, a DSiWare game with an aggressively punny title, is just the type of game that exists solely to make a dime off of the forthcoming holiday. What it boils down to is a series of hidden object puzzles with other activities such as jigsaw puzzles and Spot The Difference games sprinkled in-between. If you’ve played Christmas Wonderland, or its aptly-titled sequel Christmas Wonderland 2, then you’ve already played Easter Eggztravaganza as well. This is the exact same game, but with an Easter theme smoothed over it.
Your adventure begins when Mike and Sally decide that they want to paint eggs for Easter, but mum insists that they clean up around the house before going out. Once the cleaning is done, the young siblings must then venture off to their local farm to purchase fresh eggs to paint. Some other banal things happen along the way, and it all culminates with the big Easter egg hunt at a church. The entire plot is just repetitive, mundane, and largely unnecessary nonsense that serves no purpose other than to loosely string the different puzzles together.
The majority of the game has you looking at static environmental scenes littered with objects. Your goal is to try finding particular objects listed on the DSi’s top screen, then tap them on the touchscreen once you’ve found them. It’s nothing new, and it’s more than likely that you’ve played this type of game before. The activities that come between these hidden object puzzles do add a bit of variety to the otherwise repetitive gameplay, but they still don’t stray too far off the path. Jigsaw puzzles have you dragging puzzles pieces from one side of the screen to the other in order to form an image, and Spot The Difference games have you looking at two nearly identical images and tapping on the objects that have been altered in some way. Almost as though the developers were aware of how uninteresting these additional games are, you are actually given the option to skip through these stages and move right on to the next hidden object puzzle with no penalty.
There is a plethora of hidden object games already available on the DSiWare service, so in order to stand out, a new instalment in the genre really needs to do something original with the established premise. Not only does Easter Eggztravaganza fail to do this, but it actually exists as a poorly crafted game as well. The image quality in each puzzle is not very good at all, which means that most of the scenes you explore look very grainy, making it difficult to identify objects that are laid out plainly in front of you. For a game based solely on looking at still images, more effort should have been put into making those images look as crisp as possible on the DSi’s screens.
Much like the disappointing visuals, but not nearly as important, is the audio quality. There are only about two different songs on the soundtrack, both of which are ear-piercingly upbeat and repetitive, and they sound tinny coming through the DSi’s speakers. It’s very likely that you’ll be playing with your console’s sound turned all the way down.
The one positive note about this game compared to either of the Christmas Wonderland titles is that they seem to have repaired the faulty controls. While the earlier games were unresponsive and frustrating, this game actually recognizes when you find and tap on an object that you’re looking for. This is essentially the only control mechanic in the entire game, so it’s definitely good that it functions as it should.
Easter Eggztravaganza is a weak attempt at cashing in on the Easter holiday. The gameplay is uninspired, the aesthetic quality is low, and the entire game can be played through in just around an hour. While some of the younger players out there might be entertained by this on for a short while, the truth is that it’s less exciting than checking out your grandmother’s Fabergé egg collection.