Game: Missing: An Interactive Thriller v1.0.18
Developer: Zandel Media
Category: Trivia / Puzzle
Missing: An Interactive Thriller is something of a homage to a bygone and not highly regarded era in video games, the magical early 90's era of FMV (full motion video) games which were all the rage as the CD-ROM format was bursting onto the scene in gaming. For the most part, this resulted in a lot of lame efforts with little gameplay, terrible acting, and poor video quality, hence the FMV craze died out relatively quickly. However, there were a few gems in there like the later games of the Wing Commander series, the Tex Murphy series, and Gabriel Knight: The Beast Within, so it wasn't impossible to make a high quality game within the FMV framework. Just recently there was a very well received indie effort in Her Story that used FMV to great effect in telling its story. Zandel Media is hoping with mobile gaming they can similarly tap into the old school market with a spiffy modern FMV effort in Missing.
Visually, Missing is an impressive game as far as the FMV style of game goes. The video is HD quality video that is sharp and clear, and while it's fairly obvious that it is not particularly high budget stuff the production values come across pretty well. It also has scenes that are kind of like interactive photos where you solve puzzles that are well done with sharp images and subtle animation. On the negative, the color palette and cinematography is pretty limited with a lot of shaky cam and quick cuts, but it is appropriate with the Saw-esque atmosphere the game is aiming for. Audio-wise, this is a solid but not spectacular effort. The game does sport good sound effects with variety for the different objects and puzzles you manipulate. The audio comes through clearly, which like the video is critically important for this type of game. Unfortunately, the music is generic and very forgettable.
Since this is a FMV game, a solid story and good acting are definitely needed to immerse the player in the game's world. The game delivers in this regard, as the story is told from the perspective of two people, the "missing" person and the detective trying to find him. The short of the story is that, for reasons unknown, a man named David has been kidnapped and put in a grungy basement type area by someone. If David wants to escape, he has to solve various puzzles and avoid traps within the environment he's in. On the flipside, the police have apparently gotten notice that David is missing and the player works the case on the outside from the perspective of Detective Lambert (played by Roy Dupuis of late 90's La Femme Nikita fame). It's a pretty basic story that has been done many times, but the acting from the leads is spot on and the execution is good, so the game does manage to hook the player into the tale.
The gameplay in Missing is a hodgepodge of elements that work together to produce a competent effort, but nothing great. You'll be solving logic puzzles of different types, like slider puzzles and crossword puzzles. There are your typical inventory-based puzzles where you get an item and use it in a certain situation. Pixel-hunting in spots will be there as you do some hidden object type puzzles. Lastly, there are some Quicktime events a la the Telltale games where you have to make a quick decision about what direction to go, etc. Again, nothing mindblowing but it does give the player some interactivity. For some negatives here, the game is very short, pretty easy, and offers very limited replay value. It can be beaten in about forty minutes on an average playthrough and once you've beaten the game, there's not much reason to play it again. This is also meant to be an episodic series, so while it has an ending of sorts, you'll have to wait until the next episode for more of the story (and it's been over a year since the first one came out with little news of the next one). So if you get the game, you might be stuck on a semi-cliffhanger with no resolution in sight. It is only a $0.99 purchase though, so you're not burning a hole in your wallet if they don't make another one. Due to the reliance on video, the game takes up about 500 MBs on your Android device, so it is a fairly sizable download.
Missing is not a great game. The gameplay is too generic, the story too simple thus far, and the game is far too short. It is however, a solid little diversion to play through for a few minutes if you're bored and want a thriller type adventure game. There may also be improvements in the future if they release more games in the series so one can hope for that. Without much advertising for a sequel though, I'm not really counting on it. Anyway, it is a solid game despite its flaws, and for $0.99 it's not a bad purchase.
- Good acting.
- High quality video.
- Solid sound effects.
- Some potential with future episodes.
- Basic story.
- Short length.
- Generic gameplay.
- Semi-cliffhanger that may not be resolved.
Device/OS used: Samsung Galaxy Note 5 / Lollipop 5.1.1
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Mobilism: Missing: An Interactive Thriller v1.0.18