Curtis: I love playing these games with mom because she will always point out objects to me and let me know what they are. Unlike some other games like this one that puts me to sleep, this one has moving objects that keeps my eyes occupied. It’s very colorful as well and so I don’t get bored too easily.

Booting up Big City Adventures – San Francisco (BCA-SF) was a breeze. This is an important note because the recent hit game (and one I’ve practically written a walkthrough for) Death on the Nile has a tremendous amount of load time. I would double-click on my desktop icon and it would hang for a good minute before the game even gets to the main screen. Then it has to load up your level. BCA-SF has no load times. You just start and it goes.

There are four ways to hide things in these hidden objects games. One, to strewn things about without hiding them at all; two, to use their natural colors to camouflage them in backgrounds; three, to colorize them and use just the “decal” of an object instead of an actual one; four, hide them behind other objects so that only a small portion of it is showing. BCA-SF uses all of these methods, but relies much too heavily on the first one, which is horrible, and the last one, which isn’t much better. Let’s get it out there that we all prefer method #2 and every developer should stick mostly to it, and only use the other ones when they run out of ideas.

Since BCA-SF relies so heavily on these two methods, objects are either much too hard to find, or much too easy. Things that are strewn about are found pretty much right away, and things that are hidden behind other objects you could stare at for ages without finding them. Luckily, the game does give you hints. These come in bonus coins that you can “find” in the rooms along with other objects. Now, this COULD constitute a mini-game of also finding these objects, but unfortunately it isn’t quite like that. If you don’t click on these coins, after a minute or so they start to twinkle so you won’t miss them.

Speaking of mini-games, BCA-SF makes the player spent the most time I’ve seen in any hidden objects game. Since one round is only one room at a time, having to play a mini-game after EVERY round technically doubles your play time. It doesn’t, simply because these are also much too easy. The jigsaw is click and drop, with no rotation; the memory game lets you see the pieces beforehand; the click-matching-object game is designed so that it’ll always show you something that can help you progress; the collapse minigame is just that – but with such big icons, it’s a pretty quick game of collapse.

BCA-SF has 60 rounds, but just 20 unique locations. Now, 20 might seem like a lot, but compared to the recently released Death on the Nile, which has 24 locations that contains twice the amount of clutter each, it’s pretty short. Actually, pretty much every hidden object game you’ve played before has more stuff per room than this game does.

Now for the good stuff: BCA-SF is a hidden objects game that is geared towards children, or parents of children. Casual games of these types are becoming more adult oriented everyday with the recent examples of MCF: Ravenhearst and Death on the Nile. BCA-SF has cute characters, interesting (and accurate) tidbits about each of the locations you visit, and contains zero violent/horror elements that might keep you from playing it around your kids. On top of that, there is also a relaxed mode that you can turn on at any time so you can let little hands take over the mouse, then turn it off when you want the challenge of a timer. Just for these last reasons alone, I’ll be looking forward to future installments of Big City Adventure.

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