A developer by the name of Nimbus Games have launched its first game on Facebook: The hidden object puzzle app, Bounty Quest Mystery. The puzzles aren’t bad, but the more interesting part is this: there’s a weekly series of puzzles and you can potentially win real money if you get to the end.
If you’ve seen Where’s Waldo, you’ve seen the game. Essentially, the game is sort of like a two-fold scavenger hunt. Each week, there is a prize of some sort, but in order to enter and win this prize, players must first identify what it is and where it is through completing the puzzles. To do so, however, they must first earn the clues needed to figure it out.
Every day, starting with Monday, there is a different scene given to users. Within the still image, there is a dump’s worth of junk littered throughout it and a list of random items to find. The objective is simple enough: Find everything on the list. Though the images of items do not appear as fluidly a part of the overall environment as other hidden item games, the shear number of them is enough to make it just difficult enough.
On each scene, there are 15 items to discover, and three hints to help you. Using a hint will make one of the hidden items glow, so it’s not really much of a “hint.” Furthermore, there is no noticeable penalty for using them, so you really only have to find 12 items. Of course, clicking around randomly does help you find hard-to0 see items, as the only downside is the picture becoming blurry for a second from time to time.
Once everything has been located, you are given a score that increases your level. This, in turn, changes your profile’s title (i.e. Eagle Eye). However, anything dealing with one’s profile – be it awards, titles, or a purchasable avatar badges – seems like peanuts when compared to the big picture.
You see, along with the score, players unlock a single clue. Essentially, these start off extremely general, and get more specific as the week goes on. Currently, Monday’s clue was along the lines of “Forrest’s and Lt. Dan’s Business Location.” The player had to choose the correct U.S. region. Tuesday, it narrowed it down to the state prompting for the player to type in the state abbreviation based on the clue involving the Fountain of Youth, and Wednesday it was the city. Each day gets more and more specific.
Though it is a bit ambiguous, it seems that the first person or person(s) to figure it out the final location/object can enter to win a cash prize (at the moment it is at $175). Parts of the game suggest that it is the first person to solve the puzzle that wins, but the splash screen that says “enter and win” suggests that anyone who solves the “mystery” will enter a drawing. Since the game is new, we’ll just have to wait until the final clue is revealed on Saturday.
There is one complaint to be had with the clues. They’re a bit too easy. Okay, so not everyone is going to remember where Forest Gump and Lt. Dan had their shrimping business, but most of the clues are general enough to make for perfect Google searches. They’re worded almost like test questions that test knowledge and retention rather than a more logic and deduction-based test that a real clue would be.
Of course, if you do not figure out the answer to the clue on the first go, you have to purchase the others for that day. These cost a virtual currency dubbed Gold Pieces that can only be garnered through purchase. Each clue only costs two gold, and thankfully, players start out with 20. Additionally, the currency can also be used to buy small avatar portraits called Mascots and gifts for your friends from your profile page.
Unfortunately, as it stands, the profile page is the only real source of social interaction. Other than the gifting, the only thing on it is a leaderboard, but again, it just feels superfluous compared to the rest of the app.
Overall, Bounty Quest Mystery is a pretty neat concept. The daily hidden item searches are entertaining for a minute or two if you enjoy such puzzles, and not too easy nor too hard. Furthermore, the clues afterwards are a great idea, and solving them could be a lot of fun; they just need to be more riddle like and not something one can find on the internet in two minutes. Frankly, a good mystery game is hard to find nowadays, so here’s hoping that new improvements for Bounty Quest are on the way.
One other note here is that Facebook carefully regulates games of skill that offer money in its promotions guidelines, but these are focused on contests and competition games contained on Pages for brands and other organizations. Nimbus Games has worked with Facebook to run an approved promotion in this app — we’ll have more on that shortly.