Did you ever look at clouds as a kid and try to make shapes and objects out of them? Yeah, me neither, but you will in Snark Busters: Welcome to the Club by Alawar Games. You play as young Kria Robertson in a quest to track down a creature know only as “The Snark” She will travel through time and space to find it, all the while using her wits and objects she finds around the environment to help her progress.
The game is essentially a word search without any words. You’re tasked to find hidden objects on the screen that will either allow Kria to do something, or become a part of something larger for solving a puzzle. It’s a very simple concept that is actually challenging in some aspects.
You search the screen in both the foreground and background for things that are hidden, or in plain view that are pieces to objects in your inventory. Once you have collected all the pieces of a certain object, you can then use that object on the screen to interact with the environment that can reveal more pieces, solve a puzzle, or create a path to a new area.
The backgrounds are rather detailed and some of the hidden items are hard to spot at times. Luckily, you’re not alone. There’s a giant hint button in the right bottom corner that will offer you one hint. When you use the hint, the button will have to recharge before you can use it again. This is usually around a minute, so the game progresses rather quickly. You’re never stuck for too long in Snark Busters which is what makes this game.
That’s right; I said it, Snark Busters: Welcome to the Club is actually a fun game. Yes, it’s very simple and yes, it is a hidden object game, but I’d be lying to you if I said it didn’t entertain me. The puzzles are simplistic for the most part, and the progression is very fluid. I think that if you could get stuck for up to two minutes on one puzzle, the game would suffer significantly, but you’re never really stuck. The hint button is always there, and during actual puzzles, there is a “skip” bar that fills up over time. So if you can’t figure it out, after a few minutes, just skip it. It’s a really nice touch that keeps the player invested and interested.
The only thing that does get old are the sounds and music. It’s about five different tracks that will play in a loop over and over until you finally say it’s time to mute the music. The sounds are just regular old “clicks and whistles” that you will constantly hear every time you collect something or solve a puzzle.
Snark Busters boasts a unique Steam Punk art-style that is fitting for the simple story and environments that you will come across. Kria will be going to many different places like a beach and a laboratory all with items and puzzles that fit in well with the environment.
The gameplay is fun and never really gets boring. It has a simple, but fun story that keeps you playing. Plus, with seven chapters in all, the game will keep you busy for at least six hours. The game would be great for a parent and child to sit down a play together. In fact, I’m willing to bet that’s exactly what Alawar was going for. A child of about six years old and up should be able to enjoy and understand the game, but still, I’m 25 years old and still really enjoyed playing this game.
Review copy provided by publisher.