By Margriet "Daisy Gunpowder" Dumee on December 23, 2014

It's time for another great series to launch a brand new game! Mystery Case Files (MFC) presents its latest instalment: The Sacred Grove. Now, I'm no stranger to MFC games. From their catalogue, I've already played the Raven Heart games, the Carnival of Madame Fate games, The 13th Skull and also Dire Grove, on which Sacred Grove is based. These games are all great, containing some of the best puzzles ever! So I'm most anxious to find out if this latest addition to the series will live up to my high expectations.

Sacred Grove starts off with a short intro movie; an icy, snow-covered winter landscape is shown, after which it shows me hunters, plodding through the woods. A dog barks and I do believe I heard a wolf howling? THEY ARE WATCHING YOU: is the message. Wait...what?! Who is watching me? What's happening in the woods? That's up to me to find out! After all, I am a detective. A group of hunters has asked for my help to find out whatís going on in the town and its surrounding area. Strange phenomena have reared their ugly head in this usually peaceful region. Itís unbearably cold, the temperature is way down below normal and the woods have become wild. Theyíve evacuated the people of the town as a precaution, so something has to be done. There must be an ancient curse that has taken hold of this town. Why? Hell, I don't know yet! It's not like evil ancient curses have a habit of explaining their motives to everyone. Nevertheless, I must help these people, so off I go to find out what's what.

The townspeople are scared out of their minds, so they need me to uncover the truth and solve this mystery. I hear a decent challenge coming on (which I love!), so I begin my investigation by talking to a hunter named Samuel. He tells me about mysterious creatures called mistwalkers, who live in the woods and live their reclusive lives by ancient rules. It seems a poacher has broken these rules and in doing so, has desecrated the woods. This has placed a curse on the woods, which can only be broken by blood. Naturally, no one wants to spill their own blood. "The ones responsible for this mayhem must be punished, let's spill their blood", is the general outcry rising from the townsfolk. But who is guilty and who is innocent? If you play this fantastic game you are bound to find out!

You can choose from 5 levels of difficulty on which to play this amazing adventure. As an added bonus, I am able to choose the gender of my character, so naturally I play as a female detective! A strategy guide is also available for use if you're stuck, and don't quite know which way to turn. At first I thought Sacred Grove didn't feature a map to travel between locations, but after playing for a short while I earned my map. I was so happy! The game is filled to the brim with puzzles, all sorts of puzzles. Puzzles that feature search areas, item collection puzzles, shadow picture puzzles and the famous logical thinking puzzles (a trademark of the MFC series), which I like the most. The only tiny fly in the ointment for me was the relatively small number of search areas incorporated in Sacred Grove. It's not like there are none, it's just that (as you may or may not know) I absolutely adore hidden object puzzles. I can never get enough of them, so are there really too little hidden object puzzles? Who knows, it might just be me!

Playing Sacred Grove is a bit like playing an interactive movie. Along the way you'll rediscover the familiar locations of Dire Grove, itís like coming home. During the games you can collect photos that, if you put them together, reward you with a screensaver. But wait... that's not all! You can also earn achievements, and after finishing the game you can access a bunch of bonus content. And believe me when I say: Play it! Go on, do yourself a favour; The story continues and there are more secrets to uncover. So however you look at it, it's definitely worth your time!

The developers of MCF have yet again failed... to disappoint me, that is (had you going there, didn't I?). They've once again managed to create a game that's up to their usual high standards. Sacred Grove contains a good story and is guaranteed to bring you many hours of gaming pleasure!

available on:

Elephant Games & Big Fish Games
November 25, 2014