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Mystery of Joyville

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Rating: 4.5/5 (50 votes)
Comments (36) | Views (7,626)


GrinnypAh autumn, a lovely season. The chill breezes, the scratching of bare branches against a window, the rustle of dried leaves, those long mysterious shadows lurking in every corner... Hmm. Halloween aside, autumn seems pretty spooky on its own, doesn't it? PuppetShow: Mystery of Joyville has arrived just in time to help you celebrate the season, as well as the aforementioned holiday. A creepy hidden object/adventure hybrid brought to you by ERS and G-studio, PuppetShow: Mystery of Joyville is guaranteed to bring spookiness even to the brightest, warmest household.

puppetshowmystery.jpgThe adventure begins as a nameless detective arrives in Joyville, a derelict town counting the days until it becomes a ghost town. Greeted by the scary-looking hotel proprietor and his lovely daughter, our nameless detective soon learns that something is amiss. The owner's grandson has been missing for two days, the latest in a long string of disappearances that have baffled the police and guaranteed that no one in town will venture out after dark. It is up to you, intrepid casual gamer that you are, to solve the mystery and rescue the grandson before... well, that would be telling, wouldn't it? Wander the town, break into buildings, find lots of hidden objects, and figure out who is behind the mystery of Joyville.

Navigation through the world of PuppetShow is smooth and easy. Hidden object scenes are identified by multiple sparkles, other areas of interest by single sparkles. The beautiful tool-like cursor changes to a spyglass when hovered over things to examine; a grabbing hand when hovered over things that can be picked up; and a spinning globe when hovered over locations you can travel to. Like other HOG/adventure hybrids (Mystery Case Files: Return to Ravenhurst and Princess Isabella: A Witch's Curse come to mind) you can travel around various locations searching for items to use and clues as to what has gone so terribly wrong in this once nice town.

Hidden object scenes are cluttered, but not nearly to the level some games take them. Each yields one or more useful items that can be used later on, making them feel less tacked-on than similar hybrid titles. As always, the addition of a refilling hint-timer is a plus. The mini-puzzles are, sadly, a bit of "more of the same", nothing new or unique, but nonetheless fun to look at and play. A nice feature is the ability to skip the mini-puzzles after a certain period of time. While the credits roll an epilogue in pictures flashes by, giving closure to what is, after all, a rather creepy experience.

Analysis: Ever since the release of Return to Ravenhurst, many, many, many HOG/adventure hybrids have attempted to copy the formula. With such a glut out there, it can be difficult finding the gems that are worth the time and money to play. PuppetShow: Mystery of Joyville is one that is worth the effort.

puppetshowmystery2.jpgThe devil is in the details, they say. And it's the details that make PuppetShow: Mystery of Joyville stand out from the pack. Set in what looks like Victorian times, no effort has been spared to recreate the fashions, styles, decorations, architecture, and furnishings of the era. Every location is a joy to look at, whether the lobby of a hotel that has seen better days or a child's bedroom gone horribly wrong, just pause to soak in the beauty and the sharp, clear scenery. This attention to detail extends even to the cursor and the design of the menus. Look closely at the menu pull-up screens to appreciate the glistening porcelain detailing, marvel as you open the toolbox and receive a beautiful, unfolding ivory fan instead of a functional bottom of the screen inventory. This is the mark of a quality game, where nothing has been overlooked in creating the mood and tone of the story.

The music of PuppetShow: Mystery of Joyville only enhances the experience. Even more attention has been paid to incidental sounds that can be heard under the music: the drip, drip, drip over the Puppet Master's grave; the rustling of the leaves; the creaky noises of a house settling in the cold night. All add to the experience without being obtrusive. Rounding out the stunning artwork and appropriate music are the little animations that add to the scare factor: rats scurry in and out of the picture, dolls suddenly blink their eyes, gargoyles appear to be more than just stone statues...it all adds up to one spooky, fun experience.

The game itself is, unfortunately, on the short side. More time and more scenes in the town would have been a welcome addition, as well as more rooms in the hotel to explore. The mini-games, as stated before, are not very original. Still, despite these minor problems PuppetShow: Mystery of Joyville is definitely worth a second look.

Has it been done before? Yes. Has it been done this well? Rarely. For those who enjoy hybrid hidden object/adventure games PuppetShow: Mystery of Joyville is casual gameplay done right. It is worth noting that due to the subject matter (kidnapped child) and some of the later scenes (there is a bit of blood and nastiness) this is perhaps not a game for the very young. Small children might be a little freaked out. However, if you want to kick off the Halloween season right, then sit back, relax, and make your way through Joyville before evil completely envelops the town. Just one word of advice: you might want to play with the lights on.

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Oh. My. God. I'm downloading this game right now! I can't believe JIG has a review out already. *bounces around*

Can't wait to play and discuss!


I'm so excited I can't read the review right. XD Being born in early September, autumn is my favorite season and the game is really, really perfect for Halloween. Just the images attracted me to it that's why I got it. I like a little macabre myself.

I'm sorry, it's 6am in my timezone and I'm having chocolate. *nuff said*

Will this download thing go faster?? *bounces around more*


And it's Victorian?! (I kinda noticed but...!)

Okay, I'll stop spamming now. XD Someone needs to tie me down, PLEASE.


I just want to say that PuppetShow is the first BFG I bought immediately after the demo ran out. Never done that before. I absolutely recommend it.

The puzzles are a little less Ravenhearst and a little more Resident Evil (HURR SQUARE PEG GOES IN SQUARE HOLE HURR) but the game is absolute quality all 'round. Gorgeous visuals, a few really good eerie moments, and a wonderful soundtrack. Nothing is going to leap out BOO! style and scare you, but the atmosphere is really well done.

Carol Ann and I did battle to decide which of us would review this one. Well, actually it was more of a case of me being too busy. But I still heartily endorse this game to anyone who's a fan of HOGs. And even if you only reluctantly flirt with the genre, like myself, PuppetShow is worth a look just for how well made it is.


It's finally done. But I think I might hit the sack first. @[email protected] I've been playing games ALL night over here and frankly, though I'd REALLY like to, I might put this off til I wake up.


theres always something disturbing about puppets....


Beautiful, atmospheric game.

But I do not understand why they would waste such refreshingly adult settings on such childishly easy puzzles.

There wasn't a single moment of the game that was actually challenging. Comparing it to the Ravenhearst stuff is way off, in my opinion. This is like the child's first puzzle game version of Ravenhearst.

I love the game, but was extremely disappointed in the duration and the (lack of) difficulty.

I'm no mensa member and I don't think any of their "puzzles" took more than ten seconds of thought. Terribly disappointing mostly because of how awesome it could have been.


I found the game terribly dissapointing. Yes, good graphics, but the effort to present only items fitting into the time area was already done by Agatha Christie games.

Like Drawn: The Painted Tower it is on the short side. Not only because the low amount of levels but also because of the lack of any challenge in the mini games/puzzle or even real good hidden objects.
But maybe playing time from about three hours for experienced players is the new time line for developers?

There is nothing original, nothing others haven't done before (and mostly as good or better), lack of challenge and length.

Sad to say, for me it was just another game as many others. Not bad, but not special at all.

Greetings, Kayleigh


I agree with Kayleigh's assessment of this game - I downloaded it because I had a spare Big Fish credit. If that hadn't been the case I would have been quite disappointed that I spent money on a game that lasted about two and a half hours. Entertaining, but too short and the puzzles were way, way too simple. The only thing that was remotely challenging was

figuring out how to use the punch card with the bookcase

Which doesn't really count, because that was more a case of being confused about the logic involved.

It seems to me that Big Fish is beginning to focus more on cranking out short, easy games to turn into a series (and turn more of a profit). That is a shame considering the quality of games like Madame Fate and Ravenhearst.

Coolitrose October 3, 2009 2:47 PM

I'm stuck at the punch card.

I can't seem to find the correct numbers anywhere.

Coolitrose October 3, 2009 3:41 PM

Thank you for the hint.

I had not clicked on the book case a second time to get the hint.


It's certainly a pretty game, but I'm very disappointed to have wasted a game credit on *twenty minutes* of gameplay past the one-hour demo. Not only are the puzzles straightforward, the objects are fairly easy to locate (and I'm not a skilled, practiced hidden-object game fan). Drawn is not long, yes, but this PuppetShow is much shorter and simpler.


If you're unhappy with a game from Big Fish, their customer support people really ought to hear from you.


Thanks for the link, Jay--it does make better sense to tell BFG, I guess! :) I wanted to mention the short duration here as well because I've generally enjoyed the games I've picked up from positive reviews here.


We try to weigh all the factors when evaluating and selecting games for review, including length. The review does indicate the game is short, but we feel it is still one of the better titles available right now.

I think what we're seeing is the result of recent reductions in price point for casual games from $20 down to just $7.

At the current price point, I expect that shorter games are here to stay.


This game is beautiful, and extremely easy, EXCEPT that I can't find the missing game piece for the door in the secret backyard. I've looked everywhere, numerous times. Anyone know what I'm missing?

Oh, and btw, I LOVE this site! :-)


spookychick - missing part
But you are already inside the secret backyard, yes?

For the puzzle door you need to go back to the children's room, where you had to repair the broken doll and where you looked out the window and saw the secret backyard the first time. Click the window again - on the top left, have hidden under the red curtain, you will find a red rune

If you are still standing outside

Click the fountain, which contains a search scene now - there you will find the key for the door

Greetings, Kayleigh


Thanks, Kayleigh. I knew it would be one of those "duh" moments!


I have no idea how to solve the sliding puzzle in the girl's room. I found a screenshot of a possible solution but don't know how to get there. This is the puzzle I'm talking about:


I tried all starting moves I could think of and all lead to nothing...


buros - slider puzzle

Please click the pictures according to the numbers shown on this screenshot

Greetings, Kayleigh


I am stuck on the punch card one. Can anyone help me out ?


sammie - punch card

Examine the bookcase next to the desk and note the numbers of the missing books.

Greetings, Kayleigh


Kayleigh, thanks a lot.

Somehow I missed that way, I thought I tried all possible moves... well, I knew I obviously didn't, but it felt like it. ;)


Im a bit upset its only 1 part to this 2 part saga.(i bet it in 2 hrs) When will number 2 come out ?

Anonymous November 9, 2009 2:48 PM

I am stuck with the code for the book case i cant hink of the code any one have it or tell me how to find the code thanks its a good game.....

Merricat May 29, 2010 2:01 PM

I reluctantly give this one a 'thumbs-down.' It's not an stern, huge, DON'T BUY THIS AWFUL THING thumbs-down - just a "great idea, beautiful game, but it just....doesn't...quite...work" kind of thing.

The visual style? Beautiful. The cut-scenes (still ones, with dialogue): Okay. Hey, they can't all be Ravenhearst! But the combination of 1) puzzles that even *I* finished in (literally) seconds, and 2) a game-time of under an hour....well, that's just disappointing. It's got a good heart, and it means well, but it needs to go back to Game School.

I picked it up as a DailyDeal after reading the JIG review. I was in a hurry, and thought the price was right (and JIG usually pegs these games beautifully), so I went ahead. After I finished, I felt let down, so I sent customer feedback to BFG. Not a screaming rant - just a suggestion that it might be better classified as a kid's game, where they could have a bit of challenge.

BFG responded with their usual fantastic customer service - over and above, really! - so I second Jay's comment: if you are unhappy with a game, for any reason, CONTACT BIG FISH GAMES. They may be a big company, but they don't have that "don't care, deal with it" attitude.

Thanks, Felix. Now if I could only get Tumblebugs to stop crashing! :(

Feisty 214 June 25, 2010 8:09 PM

First I just wanted to let you know, this is an a-ma-zing help site, thank you very much for creating it. :)

Second, I hope this forum isn't obsolete and that you find this lol.

I just discovered Puppetshow Joyville (already beat the 2nd), but I am totally stuck..yep,punch card.

I randomly punched numbers on the first try, and I got it..I have the rope ladder,glass container,sheet music, and punched card. I can now not leave or use anything. It says books are missing but there is no way for me to find them.

Jay, you're fantastic, as I said I use your site every chance I need. Can you help me? Did I use the wrong numbers in the punch machine or something? I don't know where to go or what to do. I can't leave because "my investigation of the area" isn't complete,but I can't do anything else except look at the missing books.

Thank you in advance!

Feisty ;)

Anonymous October 19, 2010 9:44 PM

The punch cards, their code, how to use them and where to use them can all be found in the same room.

Where do you find them and what to do with them first:

Look at the bookcase and remember the numbers of the missing books. Take the punchcards from the book on the desk. On the desk is also the punch card puncher box. You need to replace 2 missing keys on this (found elsewhere). Place a punchcard in the blue slot on the left side of the box. Press the button number that correspond to the missing books. After ALL the numbers are pressed, press the red knob to the right of the box. The box will punch your card.

What do you do with the cards after they are punched?

After punching the card, go back to the bookcase. Insert card in slot in the middle of the bookcase doors.

Anonymous May 29, 2011 5:08 PM

Where do you find the key to get into the secret garden?


The garden key

is in the fountain.


So I'm fifteen and had spent like six bucks to get this game on my ipod and I am stuck. Really bad! I don't know what to do in the museum. :( SOMEBODY HELP ME!!!

Melanie July 2, 2011 10:53 PM

I'm stuck someone help me! I have read through every help and I can't find any answers. I know that I'm supposed to click on the desk but when I do it doesn't zoom in I can only read the fathers journal and look at the picture of the spider. I have tried clicking everywhere and nothing works. Also in the daughters room there is no hidden object area. Does my game have a glitch or am I just doing something very wrong

Anonymous August 5, 2011 1:46 AM

I'm having the same problem as Melanie. The iPhone/iPod version seems to be missing some scenes that the Mac/PC versions show, so I can't get the rope ladder, plus I can't zoom in or do anything on the desk other than read the journal and see picture. Clues appreciated.

Anonymous October 5, 2011 9:15 AM

Stuck at theater. Went through workshop dead end and theater. Have acid punch card and sheet music. Can't get back to previous scenes. Help!


Hey, I have an iPod touch and, I can't find the missing price to go to the secret back yard door. Where is it?!?


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