Hidden object games are among the cornerstones of the casual market. They require little to no dexterity, and the only qualification you need to play them is a reasonably proficient set of eyes and the ability to match similar shapes.
Snark Busters takes this basic template and then layers it with point-and-click adventure trappings, creating a puzzle game that's as accessible as any hidden object title on the market, but still offers some cerebral challenge.
The end result is a smart, flawed title that will test your patience, your eyesight, and your ability to think logically.
You play as Kira Robertson, a bored adventuress with a penchant for stealing hats from policemen, who sets out to try and find the elusive titular Snark. The story leads you through a steampunk future full of alternative dimensions, mirror worlds, and opulent mansions.
On each of the 30-plus screens, you're given a display of the objects you need to find to progress. These objects have been broken up into pieces and scattered around the scene. It's up to you to find the pieces and move on.
Some pieces are hidden more securely than others, and you'll need to solve puzzles or change elements of previous locations to find them. These tasks can be as simple as moving a cushion or as complex as clearing the poison ivy from a fuse box so that you can rewire it and switch the lights on in a previously gloomy area.
Hide and go seek
The puzzles are never particularly hard to fathom, and the game leads you gently from one to the next, never asking too much of you and never letting you stray from the rigid path it's planned out.
A hint system zeroes in on the next piece of an object if you get stuck, with a ten-second cool down period between uses. It's a sensible way of keeping the action moving, but you'll find yourself using it more often than you'd like.
Some of the objects are a little too well-hidden, and the touchscreen controls, which have you tapping on items to reveal them, aren't always accurate.
No tax, some return
Snark Busters isn't the most taxing of adventures, but it does give you a pleasant feeling of accomplishment when you discover the last piece of the puzzle and get to move on to the next part of your journey.
Point-and-click aficionados will find the whole game a little too simple, relying as it does on finding the correct, pre-ordained objects for the job rather than working out how to use what you've got in a given scenario.
Still, the game exudes a charm that's hard to dislike, and while there are some problems with the translation it still manages to tell an interesting and endearing story. If you're looking for a reasonably interesting, diverting little title to spend a couple of hours with, you could do a lot worse than this.