G5 Entertainment has big shoes to fill with its new mobile game Crime Mysteries. The prolific studio is best-known for its mega-blockbuster hidden object game Hidden City and its overnight sensation Jewels of Rome. Crime Mysteries promises to combine the best of both genres – Hidden Object and Match 3 – into one neatly-packed game, but does it work?
Crime Mysteries has large ambitions, with the tagline that reads “the BEST crime-solving game”. While I personally still find more narrative-driven mobile originals like Murder in the Alps to be more intriguing, Crime Mysteries tries its best to keep the player’s attention. The game progresses case by case and there is a lot of grounds to cover for a single case. The game allows the player to interact with suspects, talk to characters, and collect evidence. The pacing of the game does not necessarily allow it to offer many heart-racing thrills, but the storyline itself is quite gripping. If you are not one to skip dialogs in games, then Crime Mysteries is one smart crime-solving game.
As for its hybrid gameplay, the Hidden Object and Match 3 blend is actually cleverly and successfully done – to the point that leaves me wondering why haven’t more games experimented with this concept. In Crime Mysteries, there are multiple locations to explore and more can be unlocked as you advance. Some of these locations lead to hidden object scenes and some open up Match 3 levels. However, the balance between these two types of gameplay is clearly favoring Match 3. Still, it is enough to add some variety to the gameplay and renew a sense of excitement to the tried-and-true Match 3 genre.
Crime Mysteries is not an overly difficult game, but it does offer challenges. The hidden object scenes contain large objects and unlike some of the best Match 3 games, the Match 3 levels here are quite standard and do not introduce many tricks or twists. If you are ever stuck on a level, there is a wide variety of hints and power-ups to use. Apart from the usual energy system, this is where the free-to-play aspect comes in. These power-ups can be purchased from the store and they are not cheap. They cost crystals, which are relatively hard to obtain. For those who have the patience and the skills to pass all levels with ease then this might not be a problem, but for those who prefer a more relaxed gaming style, this can be frustrated.
Apart from the core gameplay, Crime Mysteries also lets you complete tasks to advance the storyline as well as to obtain items to complete collections. As of the time of this review, there are no limited-time events offered, but this is something that G5 Entertainment can obviously add in future updates.