Samantha Swift and the Fountains of Fate (by MumboJumbo) is another game in my favorite genre of casual games: the hidden object games. These games take a vivid background scene and hide a hundred or more objects all over it, then ask you to find a select few. I have no idea why I’m so addicted to these, but I do know that the searching is rather soothing.
So what makes Samantha Swift stand out from other games in this genre? Well, that would be Sam, herself! She’s the cliché teenage adventurer who’s super smart and super capable. The game starts with an animation of her surfing away from secret agents on speed boats. I think that simple description is enough to set the proper mood here. The story to the game, of Samantha collecting priceless artifacts and hunting an evil woman who holds the key to immortality, is much more geared towards tweens. That said, if you can ignore the story, the gameplay it self is quite fun.
On each level, you’ll be searching for multiple items, including a lightning bolt (for an extra hint if you need it) and two swifts (which will unlock additional modes of play other than story mode if you find them all). Some items will move down to your inventory and can be used to find other objects later. You’ll go through about four or five lists of items for each scene before you finish it, which was a nice new twist that I’m not used to with other games in this genre. Since hidden object games have a habit of getting you stuck from time to time, the hint system used is very important. This game starts you off with one hint, and allows you to find an extra one in each level in the form of lightning bolts that are hidden as well. Also, you can click on the name of an object in the list, and it will show you the silhouette so you have a better idea of what you’re looking for.
I’ve noticed that a few hidden object titles try to spice their games up with puzzles from time to time. This one is no different. Like most others, the puzzles never have instructions, so be patient with them. Overall though, the puzzles in Samantha Swift are fairly simple and they can’t hold a torch to the one with the hardest puzzles (Amazon: Hidden Expedition).
The story mode of Samantha Swift and the Fountains of Fate will take you about 5-8 hours to finish, so it’s a decent length for the genre. For the price, it feels a little short (or just too expensive). There are other modes, but they all use the same maps. A variety of additional content is available via DLC (with prices ranging from 99¢ to $9.99), but this will obviously cost you even more money. Overall, though, this is quite an enjoyable game, and I loved every minute of it!