I haven’t watched television since 2005. Anything I know about what’s on has been gleaned either from listening to the casual conversations of others and then researching it further on Wikipedia. This is why the only things I know about the Ghost Whisperer TV series is that it stars that cutie from Party of Five, and it’s about ghosts. It also aired for five seasons, which means it must have been better than Firefly, which is probably why Legacy Interactive chose to license the property and turn it into a video game.
The Ghost Whisperer is a hidden object game in which you take on the role of Melinda Gordon and help ghosts to “move on” to… um… heaven, I guess. That’s never really made clear, but suffice it to say there’s a white light, lots of hugs and kisses, and everyone’s happy at the end. There are two episodes to play through, each taking about two hours to complete. The first one involves a dying toy manufacturer, and the second, a haunted art museum.
Gameplay is divided into three phases: exploration where you talk to characters and pick up items; puzzle solving where you play little mini-games like assembling puzzle pieces into a whole; and hidden object sequences where you search through cluttered scenes to find everything on a list of items. There are two difficulty modes: casual, which shows sparkles on interactive objects along with a 60-second recharge time for hints; and hardcore, which does not have sparkles while making you wait 2 minutes between hint requests.
The Ghost Whisperer is not fun to play. Much like the spirits Melinda is trying to help, the game is a hollow lifeless husk clinging onto this world when it should just let go. It has all the elements a good hidden object game should have—good art, decent audio, semi-interesting puzzles, and creative hidden object sequences—it just lacks that magic, that spark, that joie de vivre that makes you want to say: “Expletive yeah! I’m having a good time!”
Maybe it’s the stilted dialogue. Maybe it’s the absolutely boring plot of the first episode (the second is miles better). Maybe it’s the way the ghosts are always angry, angry, angry up until the denouement and then suddenly become happy again after but a single utterance from Melinda (in the first episode, the ghost in question goes from murderously mad to “I love you” in three lines of dialogue).
Maybe it’s the constant requirement to find “useful objects.” You’ll be told there are x number of useful objects in the scene, but given no hints as to what they are. That means you’ll either stare at the screen until you see the sparkle in casual mode or slowly drag your cursor across everything until it changes to indicate you can pick an object up. This is the very definition of a pixel hunt, which has never proven fun or compelling.
Maybe it’s the noticeable lag when bringing up the inventory and switching scenes. Or maybe it’s how clicking on items during hidden object sequences won’t register about two-thirds of the time—there were a few occasions when I frustratedly requested a hint, only to have it show an item I had clicked on several times.
Or maybe I’m being totally unfair to the game because it forces me to run it as an administrator, and I hate, hate, hate running things with admin privileges. Why does a game need to be an administrator for anyway? Riddle me that.
Conclusion – Is It Worth The Money
Ghost Whisperer doesn’t cost much. It’s less than seven dollars, but I can’t recommend it. Save your money for the next HOG from Alawar.
Ghost Whisperer Technical Summary:
- Time Played – 4 Hours
- Widescreen Support – No
- 5.1 Audio Support – No
- Bugs/Crashes Encountered – None
- Control Scheme – Mouse
- DRM—Serial Key
- System Specs – AMD A6 @ 1.6 Ghz, Radeon HD integrated graphics, 6GB RAM
- Game Acquisition Method – Review Copy
- Availability – Legacy Games
- Demo – Yes (60 minute trial)