Faircroft’s Antiques: The Heir of Glen Kinnoch
Faircroft’s Antiques: The Heir of Glen Kinnoch is the second of five installments in the Faircroft’s Antiques hidden object games series and is quite a noticeable step up from the first game in terms of graphics’ sharpness and story cohesion.
The games follow the adventures of Mia Faircroft – a young art restorer who travels all around the world and helps people refurbish their antiques, but also mends their hearts with her positive and kind personality.
In Faircroft’s Antiques: The Heir of Glen Kinnoch she arrives in the Scottish town of Glen Kinnoch where William MacDougal, the owner of Glen Kinnoch’s castle – the main tourist attraction of the town – passed away without leaving a will. She is tasked to sort out his inheritance and trace the lineage of the MacDougals throughout Glen Kinnoch’s different individuals by restoring various family heirlooms that have been scattered all around the town and therefore identify which of these families’ claims to the inheritance are correct.
While in normal HOGs the bonus chapter doesn’t leave much impact on me since it’s just an appendix to the main plot, I really loved the way Faircroft’s Antiques: The Heir of Glen Kinnoch gives some sort of closure to each of the characters, and wraps all storylines very nicely and satisfying way.
Faircroft’s Antiques: The Heir of Glen Kinnoch is an old-style HOG that focuses more on hidden object scenes and minigames and less on the adventure aspect, which is basically almost non-existent here. Instead, the sheer amount of conversations between the characters and their identity development could indeed place the Faircroft games at the border between a HOG and a visual novel.
There is a good variety of hidden object scenes, consisting of identifying objects based on a list of items, their image, on their silhouette or simply by solving a mini-riddle. In comparison to the first game of the series, the hint button cooldown has been reduced to half, and this is particularly useful during the riddled hidden object scenes since these are in particular very challenging: the descriptions of most of the items are quite cryptic and one often needs to peruse the hint button for an additional clue.
The game has 20 chapters in total, each of them inviting the player to solve around four different hidden object scenes and a couple of minigames. Several dialogue lines are presented before and after every scene and they are designed in such a way that the locations can be visited in any order without spoiling the story or having these conversations affected in any way.
In regards to the story, the games can be played independently of each other, but some of the characters introduced in Faircroft’s Antiques: Treasures of Treffenburg will also be present here. They don’t have major roles, and no knowledge from the previous game is needed to understand the story. Also, the plot lines of the five installments do not have any other connections with each other apart from sharing these common characters and can be experienced as standalone games.
All the locations are beautifully drawn and decorated with small animations that heavily contribute to a cozy atmosphere. The objects to find seem to be randomly generated, and they appear slightly on top of the background (they don’t fully blend), which makes them stand out a little bit but this way they’re easier to find. This is by no means something bothersome, and it doesn’t look “cheap” or “glued on”, but it does break the immersion a tiny bit. On the other hand, the color pallete is consistent and harmonious throughout the game and even if some of the objects don’t seem to fit in the context of the scene (which is a given with all the HOGs), they’re placed in rather intuitive locations on the screen, somewhere where you would expect them to be.
One characteristic of the Faircroft’s Antiques games that I particularly like is the scene arrangement. The locations are presented in a Monopoly-board-like manner with a map of the city in the center and the 20 different scenes displayed around its outside border, linked to buildings that are highlighted on the map when mousovering their corresponding location. The ones that you can’t visit in a chapter are grayed out, while the active ones also indicate whether you have to solve a hidden object scene or a minigame. You can therefore choose which of the locations you want to visit first, namely which storylines you want to explore first. Mia also tells the player at the beginning of the chapter what goals she needs to pursue and which locations correspond to each of these goals.
Faircroft’s Antiques games are a must-buy for HOG lovers, especially since they cost close to half of an Artifex Mundi game and offer twice (or in some cases even three times) the playtime and depending on the case and on your taste, a more entertaining and well-crafted story. Faircroft’s Antiques: The Heir of Glen Kinnoch sadly does not offer any Steam achievements, and there are no plans on adding some in the future, therefore if you’re looking for a game to play that also rewards some easy achievements, then Faircroft’s Antiques: The Forbidden Crypt is the one to go to.