The Magician's Handbook HD Review

In The Magician's Handbook, you step into the shoes of a fellow with a very boring job, so boring, it takes a whole page to describe how boring it is! Seeing a commercial for a book to teach yourself magic so you go ahead and order it. The book has one spell and countless blank pages and a note saying if you move to Cursed Valley, the empty pages will start to refill. Why move to a place called Cursed Valley? Well, you're so bored, you'll follow an obvious scam to the ends of the earth just for a little excitement. The Magician's Handbook is a hidden object adventure and it's your mission to lift the curse of darkness from the deserted valley and learn what's written in the book along the way.

If you've ever played a hidden object game before, there will be no surprises here, you have a picture with a jumble of random items scattered throughout it. Some fiendishly hidden and impossible to find and some so obvious you almost feel them hit you in the face. You have a list of random objects to find and time limit to add a sense of urgency. Tapping on the item will cross it off your list and so you can't just randomly tap on the screen in a frenzy, too many misses results in a time penalty and a lowered grade at the end of the stage.

There are 12 locations to search and each is unique and well designed and most importantly they feel like they belong with the theme. Each chapter you'll have an assigned number of items to find before moving on and you finish each chapter on a mini puzzle game. These aren't very challenging so unless you're really pressed for time, they shouldn't pose any problems. The sound effects have all the usual beeps, pops and whizzes and the music is a subtle mood setter. It's not amazing but it doesn't get on your nerves either, still, I found myself playing with the sound off after a while as there is no variation.

To help you along the way you have two powers you can use, and there's no limit to the number of times you can use them but they do have lengthy cool down periods so you can't have them in use constantly. The first, and most helpful is the reveal, it reveals a random object on your list... Don't be too proud to use it, there are some items that are near impossible to see and using your skills won't effect your grade. The second skill eliminates all visual distractions and in a darkened location, reveals the whole picture for a short time. I found the visual distractions too subtle to effect gameplay anyway so I generally saved this skill for dark levels but again, using this skill won't effect your grade.

If you finish the game with a high enough grade you unlock a new difficulty, which wasn't all that hard to do. I don't usually play hidden object games and I finished with an A+ rating on every level, and I had some serious distractions (a toddler and a baby), in about 7 hours. Playing the hard setting, you get less time and you can only see the top 3 items on your list, but it really wasn't a challenge. A major flaw here is that objects are always in the same place. Once you've played through on normal, you'll know where almost everything is, and with only 12 locations, you'll know them inside out in your first play through.

You'll need a fair chunk of time to play The Magician's Handbook, it's supposed to be an immersive experience. The shortest timer was around 20 minutes ranging up to about 45 minutes in the higher levels, so it's not exactly for mobile gaming. Thankfully, app stability is very good, the only time I lost progress was when I ran out of charge (my bad!). I never had a force close, nor did the app freeze. You can also post your progress and achievements to social media if you wish, though Facebook integration isn't necessary and you don't need an active Internet connection to play.

The Magicians Handbook is a pretty standard hidden object title, it looks great but the story is a little mediocre and it's not very long. An experienced hidden object player will knock this one out in an afternoon. The story can be overlooked but the game needs to be longer and more challenging. Perhaps having a few hiding spots for each object and more stages and levels. That said, the first play through wasn't bad, but there wasn't much incentive to keep playing. All in all, it was pretty average. It gets 3 stars from me.

Achievements 23
Points 1000
The Magician's Handbook HD Achievements

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