Game Night, Date Night with Mystery Case Files: Rewind

Join us, James and Abby, for a Game Night, Date Night as we play Mystery Case Files: Rewind in our Casual Game Guides debut! Will we be able to solve the mystery of the Victory Hotel? Can we save those hapless souls who are trapped within its murky walls? Will James eat all the popcorn? Find out in our first Game Night, Date Night feature! 

Greetings everyone! You may or may not notice that we're new here! Nice to meet you! You're going to be seeing a bit more of us around here and we're super excited to get started. Quick introductions... I'm Abby and I'm married to that lug... James. We have two beautiful children... Emma and Ethan. And we wholeheartedly share a love of gaming that stems from many years of playing some of the most epic video games around. 

James and I actually met in college "in game" on a campus server. He was always wondering who this one player was that was constantly killing him... it was me! We're both extremely competitive, but James is always a good sport, so after months of playing, we decided to meet up IRL and the rest is history!

Now we hope to infuse that love of gaming into our children by taking up the mantle here at Casual Game Guides, and we thought of no better way than to begin with what's become a family tradition in our household - the Date Night, Game Night.

For years, as poor college students, we arranged our date nights over a computer and a cup of ramen for a fun way to get together and share a night of gaming without breaking the bank. Sometimes it was a 2-player game, but, more often, it was a game that we could sit and explore together. We'd sidle our chairs up to a computer and get cozy as we explored games like Tomb Raider or Myst. Those were fond memories and even though the ramen has been replaced by a glass of wine and a good beer, we're still always excited when it's time to hit pause on the world and let a game take us to a new and exciting place. 

But enough about us, we're here to start off our Date Night, Game Night with a game called Mystery Case Files: Rewind. We usually take turns selecting the game we're going to play, and this week it was James' turn. He loves a good mystery so it was a no brainer for him after perusing the new casual games listings. We knew that the Mystery Case Files was a huge franchise with plenty of other games that came before this one so number one question in our minds was... will we be able to enjoy Mystery Case Files: Rewind, even if we never played a previous Mystery Case files game? 

We were about to find out. 

Mystery Case Files Victor Dalimar

Immediately upon launching the game we were greeted with a scene of an older man who seemed to be traveling in what we guessed was a time machine? It definitely felt a bit Dr Whoish as the man jumped from scene to scene apparently looking for someone... was it us? We're not sure yet but it does seem like he's hauling along a crew of other people who don't seem thrilled to be a part of his crazed manhunt. 

Once that little scene ended, we were left feeling a bit lost. Were we supposed to recognize that man? Are we already a step behind? We shook off the feeling of unease and cracked open a few beers to ease the opening tension. 

The game asked us for our name and since no spaces were allowed to accommodate both James and Abby, we used our celebrity name, and before we knew it, Master Detective Jabby was reporting for duty. 

Mystery Case Files Rewind Title Page

The game also gave us the option of enjoying a more leisurely playstyle without time limits or playing as a true Master Detective WITH time limits. Knowing I could never step back from a challenge, despite James' protest, I confidently agreed to play with time limits. I started to immediately regret that a few minutes into Mystery Case Files: Rewind... but I'm getting ahead of myself again. 

Once the game started, you find yourself outside the decaying grounds of Hotel Victory. A letter has just arrived from the Queen... not sure how that was delivered... we're going to guess by snowy owl. But, hey, we're super important if the Queen is messaging us so we have that going for us. She wants us to investigate the hotel because there have been reports of an old man who resembles someone named Victor Dalimar... clearly someone from our past that we would know if we played through the previous games. All we know is this man pushed us into a grave at some point so clearly not a friendly fellow. 

Mystery Case Files Rewind Letter from Queen

After perusing the Queen's missive, we surveyed the entrance to Hotel Victory. A creepy automaton with a shattered television head inched over to us as a way of greetings. Not really the reception we'd expect from a 4-star hotel, but definitely something we'd hope to find in a creepy mystery game! 

Mystery Case Files Rewind Hotel Victory

We did spend a little time going through the tutorial. We've played hidden object adventure games in the past, but it's been a while so a refresher was definitely in order. There was nothing out of the ordinary though or difficult to understand. We had our trusty diary to keep our case notes in plus our inventory at the bottom of the screen. We could pick up items when the mouse turned into a hand, and we could use items when we saw the gears icon. And, of course, there was the ever helpful hint button if we got too lost during the game. We were ready to roll. 

We began our investigation by checking out the broken robot with the head for a TV... it seemed somewhat disrespectful but we um... took his arm... and then we used that to pull out a hair pin from his broken screen... we didn't even say sorry. We just kind of did it. 

Mystery Case Files Rewind Luggage

Next we broke into and riffled through someone's luggage to find a rose pin... not sure we're the most upstanding Master Detective at this point, but I guess whatever works, right? We did notice the stickers on the luggage all referenced old Mystery Case File games so that was a cool detail! 

Armed with our stolen pins, we used these to pick the intricate lock system on the main door. Now, I personally don't like puzzles like this. I don't have the patience for them. But James' adores them, so I let him have at it while I popped some popcorn, peeked in on the kids, and then poured myself another drink... this is why we work well together. By the time I got back to the computer, he had the puzzle solved and we were ready to enter the hotel!

We were treated to a weird time scene that looked like it came straight out of the Twilight Zone. James immediately started quoting from the Tower of Terror ride... "One stormy night long ago, five people stepped through the door of an elevator and into a nightmare. That door is opening once again, and this time it’s opening for you." We got a bit of a laugh out of that... but hey we're Disney nerds... and just plain nerds... 

Once we got over how funny we were, we drew our attention to a woman with red hair who greeted us in a familiar yet brusque way. Clearly again someone we were supposed to know. This started our first case and that's when the time started ticking down. 

Mystery Case Files Rewind Case 1

The case dossier gave us a brief although rather unhelpful rundown of what was going on, which was that we didn't know much of anything. However, we only had 20 minutes to solve it so we were determined to see it through... although at this point James' did start the "I told you we shouldn't have played with a time limit" rant.  

We started in the Reception area where we played a hidden object game. I tend to just click on things that look interesting when I'm playing a hidden object game, because, again, that patience thing is not one of my virtues... but James quickly stopped that by forcing me to look for only one thing. We each take an item and then we can't click on anything until we find it. I have to admit, it does make for a more challenging game play... 

It was also cool that some items required a bit more work to find. You had to solve a puzzle for the items in red before you could uncover the item. 

Mystery Case Files Rewind Reception

Once we solved the hidden object game, we moved on to the elevator where we played another hidden object game... I have to admit I was a little disappointed. I usually prefer my hidden object adventure games to have just a bit more adventure to them. I don't mind the HO scenes. It's fun sorting through a scene and hunting for objects, but this seemed a bit mindless. I much prefer a scene were I have to find one or two objects to help me progress through the game... more like the beginning of the game where we searched for the hair pin in order to unlock the door. 

After the hidden object game, we played what they called a "Super Puzzle" game. Which was kind of like a hidden object game but you had to click on things in a certain order to get special things to happen. This was much more enjoyable as you got to wind up the easter bunny at the bottom and then when you clicked on the boxing glove, it punched the roast chicken. I think James had a bit too much fun with that one! 

Mystery Case Files Rewind Super Puzzle

After a few clicks here and there we were able to solve the puzzle and complete case 1 where the questions of who the person was and where she was from were answered. Apparently the redhead was Charlotte, Victor's sister, and from the previous Mystery Case Files game called Key to Ravenhearst. Well that answers that question! 

Total time to complete Case One: A Warm Welcome was 12 minutes and 13 seconds, so we made it with a ton of time to spare, and we had no idea what we were doing. We do think gamers who were more familiar with the story and who were better at hidden object games could have easily beaten that score so the time limit factor wasn't as big a deal as we first thought. 

Mystery Case Files Rewind Case One Solved

At this point though, we were still feeling really lost without prior Mystery Case Files experience. We really do think to fully enjoy this game and get everything you're supposed to get out of it, being a Mystery Case Files expert is a must... so we both agreed this one just wasn't for us yet. We had to first go play the other games before we went any further in this investigation if we were going to really get the full Mystery Case Files experience out of Rewind.  

Overall, we're going to have to go with a 3 star review here, and we feel a bit bad about doing that since it does seem like a lot that went into the game was lost on us. When we've played sequels to games before, we never felt quite as lost as this... there was always something to help recap or catch us up on what was going on, but here there was little to no back story given.

We also felt like the number of puzzles and hidden object games were a bit too extreme for our tastes. Even though we love puzzle games, we do prefer a bit more adventure and suspense and the constant barrage of puzzles and hidden object scenes seems to halt the flow of the game at times unnaturally. 

Of course, remember, this is all from the point of view of people who have never played the Mystery Case Files games, so we'd love to hear what true fans of the franchise think of this new addition. Let us know your thoughts below and if you have any recommendations  for us! Should we start at the very beginning of the MCF games or is there one that makes more sense for someone who's trying to break into the series? 

Again, nice to meet you all and can't wait to play more games with you! 

James & Abby signing off!