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Tiger Eye Part I: Curse of the Riddle Box

Tiger Eye Part I: Curse of the Riddle Box


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Developed by

Published by

Genre: Casual/Puzzle/Hidden Object

Release date:April 28, 2010 (PC)
May 2010 (Mac)
Digital Download

Platform: Windowa, Mac

PassionFruit Games has created two of my favorite recent casual adventures:Nancy Drew: Lights, Camera, Curses! And Nancy Drew: Resorting to Danger. So I eagerly picked up their new project, Tiger Eye Part I: Curse of the Riddle Box.

Having concluded their association with HerInteractive (who published the Nancy Drew titles), PassionFruit’s new goal is to make casual games based on romance fiction. Considering the audience for casual games, this would seem like a good idea.

Based on the debut novel of the popular and prolific romance author Marjorie M. Liu, Tiger Eye is the first of two projected games based on the novel of the same name.

The game sticks pretty close to the basic Hidden Object Adventure formula, moving the player through a series of mostly static screens which contain objects to find and puzzles to solve.

The game is nothing if not ambitious. Being based on a novel means there’s lots of story to be told, and between the puzzle screens, the game includes many long cutscenes that push the story forward.

Unfortunately, it’s in these cutscenes that the game falls flat. The story’s heroine is one Dela Reese, an attractive young woman with strange paranormal powers. While in Beijing’s Dirt Market, she stumbles across an ancient relic which contains a genie. Since this is a romance story, this particular genie turns out to be a handsome, seven-foot tall muscleman named Hari, who, conveniently, starts off the conversation by insisting that he’s going to be Dela’s slave.

Hari is a shapeshifter who’s been trapped in the device for many centuries. Dela is the nicest “master” who’s ever extracted him, and let’s just say that the two of them get along rather well.

Perhaps I’m not the proper audience for a game like this, but I found the story and dialog pretty cheesy. The narrative just sort of assumes that Dela’s bizarre powers will make sense to the player (they don’t). Maybe if I had read the book it would have made more sense.

Also, while the art on the puzzle screens is solid, the art and art direction for the cutscenes feels low-rent and clumsy I realize it’s not easy creating animated cinematics on a budget, but the scenes in Tiger Eye feel flat and uninspired. They’re also long. And there are a lot of them.

On the other hand, the actual game portion of the game is good. The Hidden Object mechanic remains an irresistible draw, and the game’s puzzles are above-average. There’s also an effective (and sometimes welcome) built-in hint system, so that even if you get dreadfully stuck, you probably won’t have to Alt-Tab out to find a walkthrough. Not that I would EVER do that.

The game is only a few hours long and, since it’s based on only half a book, doesn’t feel finished at the end. I wouldn’t call the ending a cliffhanger, exactly, but you’ll definitely have to play the second game to finish the story. Perhaps you’ll be more interested in seeing the end of that story than I am.

Final Grade: C+
(Ignore all of the cutscenes, I’d upgrade the grade to a solid B.)

System Requirements:

PC Download:

  • Windows XP/Vista/7
  • Intel Pentium III 1.4 GHz or higher
  • 512 MB RAM
  • 300 MB hard drive space

Mac Download (COMING IN MAY):

  • Mac OS X – 10.4 or higher
  • 1.0 GHz Intel processor
  • 512 MB RAM
  • 300 MB hard drive space

Ray Ivey

Ray Ivey

A gaming freakazoid, Ray enjoys games on all platforms. Also loves board games, mind games, and all puzzles. Co-wrote the Entertainment Tonight trivia game and designed puzzles for two Law & Order PC games. Also a movie freak, bookworm, and travel bug. Thinks games of all kinds are a highly underappreciated force for social good, not to mention mental and psychological health.   Ray's favorite adventures include the "Broken Sword" and "Journeyman Project" franchises, "The Dark Eye," "The Feeble Files," "Sanitarium," "Limbo," "Machinarium," "Riven," "The Neverhood," and "Azrael's Tear." His favorite non-adventures include the "Thief," "Uncharted," and "Ratchet & Clank" franchises, all of the Bioware RPGs, Skyrim, and Final Fantasy XII.   Ray writes about the movies for the Bryan/College Station Daily Eagle, which is the old-fashioned thing called a "newspaper." He's been on eight game shows. He's taught in seven countries and has visited twenty-one. His favorite classic movie star is Barbara Stanwyck and his favorite novel is "The Hotel New Hampshire" by John Irving.

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