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Review: Nightshift Code

Table of Contents

Quick Info

Gore & Brutality Magic Sex Civility Religious Objections
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Additional Notes


[view screenshot]
Figuring out a code

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Rummaging through the messiest backseat in history

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Finding an Apple Tree on a map

General Information

Genre:Hidden Object ESRB Rating:NR - Not Rated
License:Commercial My Rating:Children (6+)
Played on:Martha
Available from: Steam

General Notes

Hidden object games are fairly basic, as all they need is a cluttered scene for you to search through. But these games usually aren't that much fun when that's all there is. You need a reason to be looking for there random objects. The typical solution is to craft the game around a story, and that's where Nightshift Code manages to shine.

Every one of the scenes you'll be searching is connected to the events in the story. In some cases, the storyline includes things that make the task more difficult, such as when the protagonists are using a flashlight to search for things in a pitch dark apartment.

All in all, this is worth picking up and trying out for yourself.

Story Overview

Meet Mike, a night security guard for the Chicago Museum of Art and Antiquities. Shortly after starting his shift, he heard someone trying to break into one of the exhibits. When he went to arrest the thief, she offered a compelling counter proposal: she knew where his long lost father was, and that the papyrus she was stealing was a clue to his whereabouts.

Intrigued by this, and emboldened by some of the hints she dropped, Mike helps her steal the papyrus and together they set out on a journey that takes them around the world in search of his father and the treasure he'd hidden away for years.

Gameplay Overview

Like mosthidden object games, Nightshift Code follows the usual routine of searching for items in one cluttered scene after the other. However, like any good game, it mixes things up a little. Each of the six chapters has three phases.

First, you're introduced to the next part of the story via comic book style cutscenes. Once these comics have set the stage, you begin rooting through a few hidden object puzzles. These are followed by a few more comic panels, and the second phase of the chapter begins.

During the second phase, you are once again looking through the chapter's scenes to find hidden objects. This time however, the items in your list are spread out over all of the scenes, and you can switch been the scenes whenever you want.

Once you have everything in this second list, you're taken to a different kind of puzzle where you'll use a few of the items you've been collecting to solve a code related to the story. Most of these were left for Mike by his father, who enjoyed leaving cryptic breadcrumbs behind him in his travels. Break the code, and the chapter concludes.


There is a always a reason to search a scene
Every scene you search through is connected to the events in the current chapter. Even when you revisit them during the second phase, there's good reason for it. By providing some context, you're more interested in finding those hidden objects, making for a better game.

Everyone in the story has their own reasons for being involved
Like any good story, each member of the cast has a unique motivation. These motivations and desires play off each other, resulting in shifting loyalties and prevent anybody from feeling like a cardboard cutout.

Hints are there to keep you from getting stuck
Can't find an object? Use a hint to find it instantly. However, you can't just spam the hint button to rush through a level. You can only use three hints before you run out. To get more hints, just be patient and they'll recharge over time. Unused hints carry over to the next level too.

Muliplayer friendly
This game supports profiles, so one installation can record how far many different users have progressed in the game.


Short and limited replayability
While this is a great example of a hidden object game, it's quite short with only six chapters. On average, it'll take about three hours to complete. And while the story is good, it's not interesting enough to re-read that often.

Concerns and Issues

Cutscenes depict some violence
In the comic book style cutscenes, both the good and the bad guys get involved in fights or gunplay. The most graphic scene that's shown is the aftermath of one of Mike's scuffles with some of the villain's henchmen: Both of the bad guys are shown with bruises and scrapes. At other points, people are threatened with guns or even placed in death traps.

The good guys trespass from time to time
Whether it's breaking into someone's apartment or paying an unannounced visit to the villain's yacht, the heroes of the story do sometimes bend the rules by going someplace they aren't legally allowed to be.