Chillingo’s Great Adventures: Lost in the Mountains for the iPad is a hidden picture/puzzle game that pays tribute to such games as The Sims, Trivial Pursuit, and Myst. The abundance of genres will either leave you entertained or very confused.
The game takes place in an old hotel. The hotel’s unnamed inhabitants include a “strong mechanic” male and a “nimble scientist” female (yes, the game is overtly sexist). The characters are searching for the female’s father, Professor Burns, who is lost somewhere in the hotel. To find the professor, you must make your characters complete a number of objectives throughout the hotel. Objectives involve solving puzzles, finding hidden items, and answering pop culture questions.
From an overhead, dollhouse perspective you see the hotel and your characters. If you click on either the male or female, you gain control of that character. Control consists of pointing to objects and making characters interact with those items. You can only control one character at a time, but as some game objectives need both characters, you will want to keep them together.
To find hidden items, you must search for them yourself, and then have your characters retrieve then. Finding items is a challenge. I often had to reexamine rooms after my characters had left them. Hidden items can include key cards, firewood pieces, lamps, light bulbs, tape recorders and swords. If you find five dog bones lying around the hotel, the game’s tip button becomes functional. The tip button, located on the bottom left of your screen, will give you hints as to what to do next in the game. As you progress through Great Adventures, dog bones become rare. Use your tips wisely, as the game has a habit of leaving you with no idea what to do next.
The game has an interesting perspective on gender roles. If a puzzle involves blunt force, the male character must be the one to interact with it. If a puzzle involves using intelligence in anyway, you must make the female solve it with you. Puzzles can be as easy as moving bookcases in a particular order (a male task) to as difficult as matching sounds with their keyboard strokes (a female task).
Occasionally, for a character to be able to solve a puzzle, you will have to help them answer a pop culture question. Questions include: “What was the name of the 1966 Beatles Album?” and “Who directed the Godfather?” If you don’t know the answers, you’re going to need to pause the game and get on the Internet to find them. I am a huge fan of the Beatles, but I couldn’t even name the 1966 Album (it’s Revolver, by the way).
Each character has need meters. As your characters move around the hotel, their meters will indicate if their hungry, tired, or bored. If a character exhibits one of the traits, you must drag them to one of the hotel’s kitchens, one of its entertainment centers, or one of its couches to rejuvenate. After rejuvenation takes place, the character can continue on the professorial search. Perhaps the game’s developers are trying to make you nostalgic for The Sims by including the need meters, but I don’t see how they are necessary. They only distract from gameplay.
Due to the varied genres spliced together throughout the game, you may not always know what to do in Great Adventures. Though admittedly, if you’re like me, when you’re not confused, you will be surprised by the creativity of the game’s puzzles and questions. Great Adventures may be a bit unfocused, but it can hardly be called monotonous.
[Sam Felsing is an editorial intern for Macworld.]