3 Cards To Midnight

3 Cards to Midnight Windows Front Cover

Developer: Big Finish
Publisher: Big Finish
Year: 2009
Platform: Windows

Chris Jones, the creator of the Tex Murphy series, dipped his toe into the casual hidden-object genre. And while for the most part I’m underwhelmed by this type of game, he did a nice job of injecting it with some style and challenge. Rather than simply find a list of objects on the screen, the conceit entails finding a list of words that relate to another word. To wit, if the keyword is “Card” you will want to look for objects such as a shark (for “card shark”) or a key (for “key card”). Think of it as an extra step in your hidden object dalliances.

There’s a plot, too. It involves a young woman, her distant parents, her amnesiastic past, some Tarot cards, and a bunch of other mumbo jumbo. There’s cut scenes that help move the plot along, and the voice acting is pretty terrible. I’ve played the game a couple times and honestly remember nothing about the story. But it gives one an excuse to keep going and play through the fairly entertaining wordplay scenarios. There’s also several traditional adventure game puzzles, though nothing too difficult or interesting.

Three difficulty levels provide some replay value. Unfortunately, it’s a virtual requirement that players be native English speakers. Not only that, some of the compound words are quite obtuse or poorly clued by the visuals on the screen. And given that if you make too many mistakes you have to start a scene over, it can get pretty obnoxious after a while. The number of mistakes you make can also impact the story, which seems patently unfair given how vague some of the answers are clued.

Definitely a good game to play with a friend in order to tackle the obscure compound words together. Just don’t expect to be wowed by the story.

3 Cards to Midnight Windows In a restaurant

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