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Anyone that reads my reviews on casual games knows that I really enjoy hidden object games and games that make you use your brain. Strategy games, building games, time management games - if it challenges you, I'm into it. So when I was asked to review Settlement: Colossus from Alawar Games, I was excited. From the storyline right down to the gameplay and beyond, here is what I found.
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The storyline of Settlement: Colossus is pretty in-depth and takes you beyond normal casual gaming. You play as the ruler of a once-great city that has been taken down by enemy troops. After the desecration of your beautiful city, you cursed your god for allowing your own lovely wife to be killed and were forced to wander the lands in shame. As you build your new city with your loyal followers, you learn how to regain the favor that you once knew and bring your new city back into the light.
I love the fact that the storyline revolves around a Greek theme. I also like the small cut scenes before each new level, as you learn a bit more of the story each time. As you go through the game, you'll learn more and more about how your previous city was laid to ruin and what happened to make you roam the lands. Throughout each level, you will interact with citizens that will tell you other snippets of the storyline as well. I have to give the storyline of Settlement Colossus a solid 5 out of 5.
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The gameplay really has three different parts to it: a hidden object part, a time management part, and a strategy part. I'll take you through each one.
The hidden object games are the main part of Settlement Colossus, as this is how you gather the resources needed to build your city, feed your people, and so forth. There are many different hidden object games throughout each level, such as in the forest, the lake, the caverns, farms, carpenters, tool makers, and more. These different areas all offer several hidden object game boards in them as well so you aren't always playing the same one over and over again. Each different area offers something different, for example food items, tools to gather the items, firewood, bricks, and clay. You have an interface at the top of your screen where you can keep an eye on the different resources needed.
This is where the time management part comes in. You have to keep an eye on your interface at all times as your people cannot work without food (and it takes a certain number of food daily), they cannot work without firewood, and they cannot work without tools. There are also other items that you'll have to keep in stock, such as clay for bricks, ore for metals, reed for papyrus and so on. There are little bubble icons on each different hidden object game location that will tell you what can be found there so you know where to go. You'll have to manage your time in each of the different hidden object games so you know that you're going to always have a steady flow of the items you need.
And, this is where the strategy part comes in. Settlement Colossus will offer you several different goals in each level, and it's your job to complete them all before you can move on. Strategy game lovers will enjoy this part of the game, as you have to build up resources through the hidden object games so that you can complete your goals. If you are good at playing the right strategy, then you can complete several goals at once, reducing the number of days that you take for each level.
There are also smaller mini-games throughout the levels that will have you help create machinery for your people to use, rid the farms of caterpillars, or help position mirrors in the mines for your people to see. These mini-games are challenging, and I have to admit that there are two that I've had to skip by both times I came up against them... I won't say which ones, but they are all really fun to try to solve.
Since the gameplay is complex and offers several different things beyond the normal hidden object games, I have to give it a solid 5 out of 5. There is so much here to do and play, and the replay value is amazing.
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There are also two different parts to the graphics of the game: the game itself and the cut scenes. The game itself consists of a main map where you can see your city grow and the hidden object games within. The city map is well done and very detailed, but not overly done. You can see your citizens by each different area working - which is cute. When you get into the hidden object games, you are in for a treat. Those that love hidden object games will really enjoy this part of Settlement Colossus, as their game boards are designed to be challenging. You can't just look over it and see where things have been added in later. You will spent a lot of time and several hints to find the different hidden objects that you need to complete the level. And, as you progress through the levels, you will find that each of the hidden object games get harder and harder. I personally love this, as the main goal is to find the resources you need.
The second part of the graphics are the cut scenes that I mentioned in the story line section. The graphics here are more along the lines of computer animation movies and are created to look pretty realistic. While the main part of the scene won't move a lot, there are objects that do move while the scene plays each section.
I love the fact that the artists and developers really took their time with the different levels in the hidden object games. It makes the overall game so much better. So, I will have to rate the graphics a 5 out of 5, and you can see for yourself below how well done the graphics are.
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Sounds and Audio
Once again, I have to break this into two different parts: the overall sounds and music of the game and the voice work in the cut scenes. The overall sounds and audio of the game are ok. You can hear the clank of the blacksmith, the rippling of the waters, and so forth, but they aren't something that just knocks you over. The music is pleasant and really fits the game overall as well, but again, nothing spectacular. This part I would have to only rate about a 3 out of 5.
But the voice work makes up for it. I really liked the voice work when you're watching the cut scenes throughout the game. It gives you a personal feel of getting to know the emperor and know his pain and what he's going through. To me, this is a great touch. Whoever did the voice work was perfect for the part as well. This part I would have to rate a 5 out of 5, as it's some of the best voice work that I've heard in a hidden object game, outside of 3 Cards To Dead Time.
Overall, I'm going to rate the sounds and audio a 4 out of 5.
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Truthfully, I like most hidden object games that I come across - notice I said most. But this Alawar title has got to be my favorite so far. I have played it for hours on end and still haven't beaten it. And, you can easily start over if you wish and still get a completely different game experience. I have to recommend that any hidden object games lover get this one right away. It just offers too much to pass up. If you don't believe me, check out this free game download demo of Settlement Colossus at Alawar Games.