Maestro Music of Death Collector's Edition (PC)
Genre: Puzzle - Age Rating: 3+
1 reviews from the community
Review of "Maestro Music of Death Collector's Edition (PC)"
Thank you for reading my reviews. I'm always happy to rate back. Thanks everyone for the congrats on my diamond :D
Age rating: 7+System requirements:
Windows XP/Vista/Windows 7
Pentium or equivalent, 1.4 GHz or faster
Hard Drive Space: 713MB
DirectX Version: 9 or higher
Graphics: Any DirectX compatible video card
Audio: Any DirectX compatible sound card
Can be bought used for £4+ at amazon.co.ukThe hidden object genre isn't my main go to for favourite games. I much prefer a proper puzzle and adventure like Monkey Island or Nancy Drew, but I don't mind playing this genre in short bursts. My reasons for picking up this game were: it looks gothic and it was suggested alongside the Phantom of the Opera hidden object game that I enjoyed a few years ago. Music of Death is certainly a beautiful game, but would it be a matter of style over substance?
I am reviewing the collector's edition of Music of Death, which is a physical CD containing the main game, bonus game, downloadable sheet music, wallpapers and screensavers. It can also be downloaded from the Big Fish Games website.
SynopsisThe Maestro series, created by ERS Game Studios, who are also known for their Edgar Allan Poe Dark Tales series, so far comprises of four games. Each one centres around music, and its deadly power . . .
In Music of Death, the first game in the series, you play as a detective arriving on the outskirts of Paris. He discovers that the place has been sealed off and soldiers now guard the entrance. Malevolent violin music can be heard across town, and whoever hears it suddenly grows old and perishes! A woman begs the detective to go in and save her daughter and, when he does go past the barricade, a young girl with a violin calls for help . . .
Gameplay 3.5/5Music of Death is a first person point and click hidden object game. The detective wanders around the desolate, ruined town via the player clicking on parts of the screen to move around the area and examine objects. Points of interest sparkle and music notes dance over hidden object areas. Upon clicking on a point of interest, a pop-up will appear to show the zoomed in area or a puzzle.
Most of the puzzles consist of finding solutions to obstacles, such as unearthing keys for a locked door, combining broken bits of a medallion together, collecting parts for toys, all the things I normally find in these types of games. Some are a little shoved in, like why does the character need a trowel to dig something out of a flowerpot, when he could just stick his hand in? While others fit right into how my mind goes -- finally, out of all the puzzles games I have played, I can just smash one of the windows with a brick to reach in and get something. So, find something that needs sorting, such as raking up leaves, fixing a ladder, and then picking up everything needed to do this.
Other puzzles involve swapping tiles to make up the image of a fleur-de-lies as well as ones where I have to put things in the right place, such as slotting in a mechanical bird's feathers according to the different shaped imprints. Most of these puzzles were quite easy, but I enjoyed them. They were also a break in between the hidden object scenes. I thought there was an even amount of puzzles and hidden object scenes.
Hunting Through JunkThe hidden object scenes show an area, such as a garden or grimy bathroom, overladen with objects and no sign of getting through this mess (and very reminiscent of my bedroom!) A checklist at the bottom lists what needs to be found, then I have to try and spot it and click. Some objects, which are written in red on the list, need something extra done to be found. One that I remember involved a golden eagle statue with only its head poking out of a stone wall, which meant I had to find a chisel to free it. Upon clearing the list, one of the objects is sent into the inventory.
I did enjoy hunting for the objects, as everything was so detailed and well drawn. However, I did find that, while there are lots of locations in this game, the hidden object scenes were not as varied. Often, I would complete a hidden object scene, such as in a bathroom, get the item, use it, come back to the bathroom for another puzzle and the tub would be sparkling again. This made it too repetitive for me, and it would have been better if it had taken longer to use that same area, or used another area, as it was literally a two minute break between the same hidden object scene.
DifficultyHints, such as the game pointing out hidden objects, can be used by clicking on the perfume bottle in the corner. This will then empty and fill over time to be used again. There are two difficulties, although the puzzles remain the same. Junior has a quicker reload time for the hint bottle and points of interest sparkle. Hard mode means no sparkles and longer reloads. There is also an in-game strategy guide that can be brought up while playing.
I found Music of Death to be a very easy game. None of the puzzles were too challenging and the hidden object scenes, while cluttered, were easy enough to look through. This was mainly because, as I returned to them quite close together, I still had it clear in my head where things were. Also, with a group of red highlighted items, they would often turn up together in a box, meaning it was quick to knock several off the list. Rather than offering a challenge, this game is more like something relaxing to play casually, or for quite young players.
Graphics 5/5What I love most of all is the artwork. The opening cutscene upon first playing the game is stunning. Everything is highly detailed. The artwork is lavish, with a dark gothic style, which I absolutely adored. The buildings are huge, oppressive, the graveyard spooky, yet, no matter how creepy, there were some really beautiful locations. The characters were also well designed, with an illustrative look to them.
The environments are so rich with details to make the town seem even more . . . alive, shall I say? At least, not just a row of static images. There are leaves fluttering around, the wisps of spirits, and boats rocking in the water.
Soundtrack 4/5The voice acting was, to me, average. Some voices sounded a little hammy, while others were all right. However, I thought the music was brilliant. It was wonderfully haunting, melancholic violin music. I wish there had been a couple more tracks, as there were only a few, not because it became repetitive or anything but because it was so good that I wanted more.
Most of the time the music pops up while completing a puzzle or hunting through objects. While wandering the town only sound effects, such as creaking wood, rushing water, and the wind, plays, which made it even more creepy. The only sound I didn't like was the jangly jingle that came every time something new was added to the inventory. I just felt that it was really intrusive.
Story 4/5The story is kind of basic -- town in peril, a kid to save -- but it helps keep the game going. What interested me the most was why the (spoilers) music teacher had done all this. I would have liked a bit more depth about that, as it would have made the story more interesting, but it isn't a major gripe. The game does end on something of a cliffhanger, but I felt the main story for this game does wrap up nicely, so you can just play Music of Death without feeling left out of the rest of the series.
Game Length and Extras 5/5
I normally find most hidden object games way too short without enough locations or with too much backtracking. I felt there was plenty to do in the game, with several obstacles to get past. It never seemed to drag on but it also didn't feel too quick. Music of Death was about three to four hours long, which I thought was great for a game of this type. There were plenty of locations, and it never felt too constrained or with nowhere to go. There are graveyards, parks, houses and a music hall to explore, although I do wish there had been a tiny bit more of the music hall.Upon completing the main game, the bonus game is unlocked. This has the same gameplay as the first, and it is a little hour filler in between the stories of Music of Death and the sequel Notes of Life. Alongside the bonus game there are wallpapers and screensavers of locations in Music of Death, concept art, preview tracks of the soundtrack as well as music sheets to try and play the game music (though I haven't even attempted that!)
Pros & Cons
- Stunning, gothic illustrations
- Fun puzzles
- Beautiful music
X Too easy, needs to be more of a challenge
X Jingly sound effect
X Slightly repetitive hidden object scenes
Trivia: I couldn't actually find much about this game to use as trivia, so I'll focus on the company. ERS Game Studios are a Russian company that began in 2006. The majority of their games focus on supernatural/mystery stories with a European setting.
Overall, I would give this game 3.5 out of five stars because, while I found the artwork stunning with plenty of locations to explore, there was barely any challenge and some repetitiveness with the hidden object scenes. Some more variety and difficulty, and it would have been perfect. I would suggest this as a really casual game to play for someone to wind down with rather than to test their skills. But I really enjoyed playing this, the collector's edition is full of great extras, and I hope to play the sequel in the future.
Thanks for reading!
Product Information : Maestro Music of Death Collector's Edition (PC)
Manufacturer's product descriptionGenre: Puzzle - Age Rating: 3+
Listed on Ciao since: 08/03/2013