The Mysterious Case of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde takes us right back to a London morning in 1886. A body is discovered – a wealthy man who was highly regarded by everyone. Why was he murdered? How? What is going to happen next? Your job is to step into the shoes of an inspector, looking for clues and talking to important characters to discover exactly what has gone on and hopefully prevent any further crimes.
The story roughly follows the major plot points of Robert Louis Stevenson's 'Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde'. You'll be working alongside familiar characters from the story such as Richard Enfield, The Carews and Mr. Poole as an inspector – tasked with solving murder cases as they happen. The story is gripping; as is often the way with murder cases there are twists and turns, new information changing your ideas and a shock ending unless you had figured it out beforehand. Of course, if you're familiar with the original story you'll know exactly what is going to happen, but for the sake of those who aren't we won't spoil anything here.
The gameplay is predominantly a hidden object adventure, collecting potentially important items by tapping them them on the touchscreen; you'll travel across London to different locations, each with 20 objects to find. The top screen displays a full, zoomed out image of the scene allowing you to assess where items could be. On the bottom screen you are much more zoomed in, allowing you to scroll around to look at things more closely. A list of objects will appear on the left hand side telling you what to look out for – when you see an item from the list you simply touch it with your stylus - find all 20 and you've cleared that location. Although it doesn't get much more complex than that, there are a couple of things that make the game a bit more interesting.
Firstly, to help you out when you simply cannot find the item you're looking for you can use a hint. Clicking on this highlights the area where the item can be found on the top screen allowing you to scroll to that area on your touchscreen and find the item with ease. Some objects can be incredibly tricky to find; the locations you're covering aren't very large but some objects are almost camouflaged – often being the exact same colour as the background or blending in with the scenery. You can get more hints by finding particular green bottles whilst searching for clues, but you should be as sparing as possible when using these because they don't appear all the time.
Secondly, the locations you travel to are split up with small, mini-game style puzzles which vary in quality. A lot of the time these are just a simple case of restoring a ripped piece of paper like a jigsaw, matching pairs of items and games of spot the difference, but occasionally some really interesting puzzles come along. One particular puzzle sees you drawing a route through a complex maze to work out where the suspect could have gone next. Although being nowhere near as polished, puzzles like this didn't feel too far away from puzzling greats such as the Professor Layton series.
Apart from these mini puzzles the gameplay itself is incredibly repetitive. There are 30 locations in total which means that 30 times you'll be tasked with finding 20 items on a screen. The different locations don't do anything to change this; the basic idea is always exactly the same. Instead of the gameplay you'll find that the story is what will keep you coming back for more – especially if you are unfamiliar with the source material. Different characters will appear throughout the story and as long as you take the time to read all of the dialogue and chapter introductions, you'll be making your own assumptions and trying to guess all of the juicy details before the game reveals them.
Hidden object games usually attract a very specific audience – some of us get completely absorbed by them whilst others would prefer to play anything but. If you are of the first persuasion then this game is a great little adventure which will keep you hooked, especially for those set to experience this classic story for the first time. For those who aren't a fan of the genre, the plot probably won't be enough to make you want to play this all the way through. After realising just how repetitive the process is you'll likely lose the motivation to carry on. Definitely one to try out if it intrigues you, but not one to set the world alight.