Once upon a time it was a dark and stormy night, and there was this guy pondering away in his study. He had just broken up with his girlfriend or something and was getting all lamenty when this bird flies in and starts taunting him. The guy goes crazy, because the bird is quothing the same thing over and over again. So the moral of the story is to not answer the knock at your chamber door or else a pigeon will drive you insane.
That's how the story goes, right? Maybe. Well, the point is, you are now prepared for Midnight Mysteries: The Edgar Allan Poe Conspiracy, the latest hidden object game from Mumbo Jumbo, creator of the Samantha Swift series. Even if you've never heard of Poe (meaning you spent your life living at the bottom of the sea), all you need to know for the game is he wrote scary stuff and he's dead. Now his ghost can't rest until his death is avenged, so you have 24 hours to solve the mystery or his soul will be dragged down to the underworld. Sure, the real Edgar Allen Poe died under suspicious circumstances, but we won't get all speculative and take the game for more than a piece of fiction, will we?
With the help of a supernatural pocket watch you can travel into Poe's stories and explore them for objects that have been, well, hidden. Some of these items will go into your tool bag to be used later, whether you need wood planks to light a fire, or a sponge to clean a dusty window. You'll also need to solve some puzzles, play mini-games, and talk with the fictional characters scattered about.
Analysis: Midnight Mysteries: The Edgar Allan Poe Conspiracy offers up a solid and enjoyable ghost story based on actual history. Some knowledge of Poe's works makes the game especially fun. Find ravens in the scene and your hint counter goes up. Click around randomly and the ravens are scared away by an angry one-eyed black cat. The storyline becomes clearer if you know why there's a skeleton behind that brick wall or the reason that Captain Kidd makes an appearance. However, if you're unfamiliar with Poe, it won't hinder your enjoyment of the game one bit.
Want a great-looking hidden object game? Midnight Mysteries: The Edgar Allan Poe Conspiracy is one of the best candidates out there. Ripples on the water with fish swimming below? Check. Wind rustling the trees? Check. The pseudo-realistic style of visuals sits between a hand-drawn comic and a meticulously detailed still life, and you won't mind drinking in all of the visual nuances throughout the game.
Midnight Mysteries stumbles a bit with clue descriptions and click detection, the plague of most hidden object games. When you're tasked to find a bottle and there are several candidates in the scene, you need a bit of luck to find the right one on the first try. Some of the mini-games could also use clearer instructions.
Midnight Mysteries: The Edgar Allan Poe Conspiracy stamps its way into the hidden object scene and holds its ground with well-integrated story and gameplay, great artwork, and logical hiding places for items. It's perfect for casual audiences who aren't looking for a lot of challenge but want a good gaming experience nonetheless.