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August 16, 2013

Yard Sale: Hidden Treasures Sunnyville

(Note: The game reviewed today is also available as a game on Internet as well as a PC game, so there might be some pictures that are from those versions of the game.)

After last week, I needed a break. The Bullet Hell got the better of my thumbs, so I decided I would play a game that's not as harsh on one's fingers. And I might have found such a game on the WiiWare. Remember my article on the strange stuff we can find on the WiiWare? Well, not everything in there is that bad. There's a lot of gems on the WiiWare. You just gotta dig through the thousand or so games in the collection to find the good ones.

Today's game isn't half bad, actually. As long as you can appreciate calm games. You probably noticed that the past two games were related to the Internet: Tower Defense games and Bullet Hell games. Well, once again, this is a type of game we can find on Internet for free, which is not to say all games like this are of the same quality; likewise, while we can indeed find games like this on Internet for free, it's also a very popular type of computer game that you can buy at the nearest store. The WiiWare section actually has a few of those games, but I'll review only one. Or, anyway, I don't think I'll review another of those.

This is an object finding game. The whole point behind such games is that you are given multiple still images containing lots and lots and lots of objects; you are given a list of objects, all of which you must find in the image. Each environment is a different level, and usually it gets harder as the game progresses. Harder, as in the objects are hidden better, or there are more objects to find.

Welcome to Yard Sale: Hidden Treasures, where every level is a yard sale and you can steal decorations, animals, cars and even LANDMARKS from caricatures.

Gosh, this place is a bigger mess than my bedroom!
This game works the same way: On each environment, you are given a list of objects to find, and to complete the level, you must find all the objects on the list. You do not get punishment if you click too often on the wrong objects, though. You also get a helping hand in the form of Stars; each time you click the star on the top right corner of the screen, you will be pointed directly to one of the objects you are looking for; the downside is that you cannot decide which object the hint will find for you (unless, of course, you have only one object left to find). Also, in each level, you can look for and click on a star hidden, and this will add one more hint that you can use later. You can have a maximum of nine hints. Also, you always have four objects in your list; before getting to the next objects on the list, you must find one or more of the objects among those four; as a result, if you get stuck with four hard-to-find objects, you can either waste a few hints... or keep looking harder. Last but not least, this game was nice enough to place a zoom function, so that you can zoom in or zoom out to have a better view on the objects and find them more easily.

So, what's the story behind this game? You are the new resident of Sunnyville, home of stereotypes and caricatures alike. At your arrival, you are greeted by Miss Kitty, the resident cowgirl, E. Stein, an Albert Einstein knockoff, and Atia, a woman with a strange love for the Antiquity and great champion of home decoration. They tell you that you moved in just at the right time! All the houses in the neighborhood are getting judged for a decoration contest, and since you're new here, you get to participate. However, since you just moved in, your house isn't pretty yet. Therefore, you need to go out and find some stuff to make your interior look better.

Sandy's level... a sandy level. Hints remaining on the top
right corner, objects to find listed at the bottom.
As it turns out, all the people in the neighborhood are participating too! So all of them have a ton of objects that would make them lose the contest. They have too many items, and a place with too little space to move sure won't win the contest! As a result, everyone's presently selling their junk-er, their stuff, and thus you can go around and lift a few items off their sale. You take this opportunity to take objects that will look nice in your house, if you can repair them or make something new out of them.

You have eight rooms to embellish, which means you have eight “levels”. During each of those levels, you visit all the currently available yard sales to find objects and ameliorate your place. First is the entryway, then the living room, then the dining room, the kitchen, the kid's room (wait... you're a parent in this?), the game room, the master bathroom and the master bedroom.

Also, the controls in this game are really, really easy. At least in the WiiWare version. You point at the screen and select the objects with the Wiimote, you press A to choose an object. You press A on the Hint icon to use a hint. You can keep A pressed and move with the Wiimote to move the screen around, so that you can see other parts of it. Also, you can zoom in with the + button or zoom out with the - button. Last but not least, you access the in-game menu with the 1 button. Easy as pie!

Who is this all-star cast waiting for you to rob them blind of their not-so-prized possessions? Well, here's a list.
- M.T. Graves: The creepy Halloween-oriented man has monsters in his house, skulls on his tables, and thunder in the background.
- Sailor Bob: Ahoy, mateys! This white-bearded man of the sea is glad to be giving you the shiniest yard sale of all time! (no, literally; it's all shining in his level)
- E. Stein: It's all relative, but I think this guy is based on Einstein. Maybe it's the name, Or maybe it's his level filled with scientific items.
- J. Dean: Hey, it's cool. This guy likes cool cars, mechanics, and the fifties. Stop trying to hide your silly haircut, Elvis, we recognized you!
- T. Hugger: Peace, man, and come to this psychedelic yard sale, straight outta the sixties. Oh, and remember to save the forests!
- The Colonel: Soldier, you've been brought here to raid this military camp, and bring back home the objects you want!
- R. Masters: Whoa, a circus! And a fun one at that! Who's that creepy clown? Oh wait, it's the owner of the place, how weird.
- Atia: The Antiquity aficionado, she wears a toga and is apparently a stuck-up woman who takes decoration contests way too seriously.
- Miss Kitty: Hiya! That girl lives on a ranch, takes care of horses, and still finds some time to collect money through her yard sale!
- Sir Loin of Beef: Thou shalt find all thou need in this beautiful yard sale, peasant. Pray Sir Loin shalt accept thy puny coins.
- Mrs. Martin: On her mailbox, an A located between the I and the N has been crossed off. Hey, I never saw such a circular house that was flying off the ground!
- Sandy: Dude, that girl's got the moves on the sea, and she's got the stuff you need! All her objects are on the beach!

I don't know if you can see them all on this picture. But they're all there. Let's play "spot the caricature!" Play
with the descriptions provided just before this image! You'll see, it's a lot of fun.

One of the more troublesome levels because of all the
symbols on the walls... Darn are they too well-hidden.
These twelve residents of Sunnyville all have the objects you can use to decorate your house. And more than that. On your item lists, you'll often have to find objects that are far in the distance (so that they're actually vehicles or even landmarks, such as the Statue of Liberty!), or objects that are actually symbols located on the walls of the environments you visit. Those can be especially difficult to find, if they are well-hidden. I swore the most when I had to find three 9s on M. T. Graves' level. The positive side to all this, however, is that as you replay in some environments, you'll notice the collection of items never really changes, the objects don't even get moved around, so if you can remember where they are, you'll have an easier time finding them all.

Sometimes, one of those colorful people will have a little quest for you; you'll have to go to another resident's yard sale and find a certain amount of items. As an example, you must find vinyl records hidden in M. T. Graves' level, because his bats stole them to J. Dean. Or find equations forgotten by E. Stein in four other yard sales. Or find all test tubes scattered around Mrs. Martin's yard.

Building a table? Easy as pie in this game!
After each day, you come back home, and it's time to decorate... wait, not yet. First, you must build some of your decorations using a few particular items you found that day. You must paint, saw, cut, spray-paint, clean, glue the objects you find, and assemble them to obtain all-new objects for your house! You do this each time you come back from yard sale shopping. After this moment spent tinkering, you can finally decorate. And transform your house from a boring one to a damn pretty one!

And so you do this over the course of eight days, until your eight main rooms are decorated and pretty. Then, the judge appears, and comes to look at your house. As he inspects every one of your masterpieces, he writes in his booklet, and after he has taken a look at the master bedroom, he is ready to assign a rating to this house. Sadly, you don't win. Atia's still the big winner, with her expensive statues and her expensive house that looks like a Greek monument, and sadly you must satisfy yourself with the fact that you house is pretty enough for you to live in... and once again, the glory goes to someone els-

Just kidding! Of course, you win the contest, and your house becomes the main subject of the Sunnyville decoration magazine, with pictures of all your rooms, and all those things you took from the others. Congratulations, you have beaten the Career Mode!

As a result, you unlock Timed Mode. This is a mode in which you must play all 12 levels. You must also find every single one of the objects in every level. How hard can that be? Actually, it's not THAT hard. You had to find almost all the objects by now, so finding them again shouldn't be difficult. Also, as you find objects, they disappear, so it gets easier and easier to find the remaining objects. You have to beat the record time, which is 240 minutes. That means you have to complete every level in 20 minutes or less. Look out, however! In this mode, when you click on too many wrong objects, a whole minute is added to your time! I know I managed to do the whole thing in about 120 minutes, for about 10 minutes per location. But I believe it's possible to do it under 100 minutes. In this mode, you can find up to 5 stars on each level, which means that you can reach the limit of 9 pretty easily... but you will probably never get stuck on a level, unless you're really unlucky.
Here are the answers to the previous game. I hope you got them all right! If you didn't play, well... Nobody was
forcing you, after all.

And what do you win when you beat Timed Mode? Nothing much, really. I guess you can't win much things in a game that is made to let the player relax. Because that's the point behind those games, after all.

So, my final thoughts on this game? Well, it's pretty fun. The controls are very simple, so you can let anyone else from your family play this game. Or you can play with them and use their help to find all the objects faster. It's a calm game, which is not new for the object search genre. Again, the game is not insanely hard nor insanely easy. Most items are easy to find, others are hidden better. The symbols on the walls can be the most difficult ones to find, because you won't always think about looking at wall decorations. The tinkering mini-games are a lot of fun, you feel like you really made something out of the items you found in yard sales. The decorated rooms are pretty, too. I'd say the characters are a tad too much like caricatures and could be borderline insulting if you get offended too easily, but you won't see them too much. If you feel like taking a break from Madworld or Brawl, this game is pretty fun. For 500 Wii Points, it's something you'll enjoy for a few days.

Read you next week with my first Top 12 list!