Game Review by Debbie Winkler
Play your way through 22 levels of hidden object adventures in a mystical, magical land. With only a talking peacock to guide you, find the special objects on each level that will help you develop your magical powers and bring you closer to your destiny. Packed with fun-filled mini-games and a variety of hidden object scenes to search through, beginner and intermediate gamers will be sure to enjoy this game.
In Age of Oracles: Tara’s Adventure, you play the part of Tara, a newcomer to a magical world that she is unfamiliar with. The world is based on the tarot and different cards and characters represent each of the 22 levels in the game. The scenes with the hidden objects are not particularly mystical, however, but much more practical like apothecary shops, stable yards, exotic zoos, etc. There is quite a bit of New Age advice that is also included in the game, most of which is very good and quite inspiring. The graphics are bit old-fashioned, but they work just fine and get the job done.
Each level begins and ends with a mini-game. The mini-games include jigsaw puzzles, matching, and mahjongg. All of the mini-games feature the tarot deck. After you successfully complete the mini-game, you will move to a tarot card scene. You will interact and “talk” to the person on the card and they will give you a challenge. Then a group of objects will appear on the bottom of the screen. You need to pick up the object and place it directly on top of the identical object on the screen. The screen will be in gray-scale and the objects you are placing will be in color so it is pretty easy to keep them straight. After you place all of the objects, you will be moved to a wall of doors. One – three doors will open up per level. Click on a glowing door and you will be taken to the hidden object scene. Each scene has you searching for fifteen objects. There is a wide variety of scenes, but you will repeat several of the scenes multiple times, though you look for a different object list each time. Some of the objects you find will be placed in your inventory. After you complete all of the glowing doors, you will be taken to a scene that is related to the tarot card you are working on. Then you will need to use the objects to solve a puzzle. Items you can interact with will glow and, if you click on them, they will give you a hint so that you know which object to use. Helpful tip: sometimes you need to pick up additional objects on the final scene to complete the puzzle. You don’t always get everything you need from the hidden object scenes.
Age of Oracles: Tara’s Journey is a great hidden object game for beginner or intermediate hidden object gamers. Most of the item lists you will be searching for are recognizable, unlike other games I have played. Sometimes there is a bit of confusion when you are looking for a bat (the animal or the baseball?), a bow (archery, bowtie or one you put on a gift?), but these are pretty straightforward. You have an unlimited number of hints to help you through the levels. Simply click on the peacock on the left-hand corner and an item on your list will glow. You cannot select which item on the list you need help with, however, so the hints are most helpful when you have a few difficult-to-find objects left. The hint recharges relatively quickly so don’t be afraid to use it to help you out on the more challenging/cluttered scenes. There are no penalties for clicking on the wrong object in the hidden-object scenes so, for you lazy gamers out there, feel free to click away at anything and everything. Sometimes you can stumble across every item on your list without even reading the list, but that kind of defeats the whole point of playing a hidden-object game, doesn’t it?
I consider myself an advanced hidden-object game player, but I did enjoy this one. I needed a break and was looking for something fun and lightweight and Age of Oracles: Tara’s Journey definitely fit the bill! I enjoyed the mini-games and found a few of the hidden-object scenes were more challenging than I expected. The game begins with fairly easy scenes and progresses to more difficult ones as you continue playing. The storyline is fairly brief and to the point, which was a bit unfortunate. I prefer games with a more robust storyline, but if you are looking for some straightforward game play where you don’t have to talk to people or follow a story, this one is for you. Every time you progress to a new level there is a brief introduction or talking scene. There is always a “skip intro” button on the bottom right hand side of your screen if you do not want to listen to the talking, which is nice as you can replay the game without listening to the information. You do not need to listen to any of the story to figure out what you need to do. If you are looking for a fun, fast hidden-object game that is full of bright, airy rooms to search and nothing scary, Age of Oracles: Tara’s Journey is a good one for you!
This game contains occult themes and graphics. Magic, spellcasting, talking animals and other mythical elements are included. All of the story is communicated through audio so you do not have to read the story. However, you will need to read the list of objects that you need to find on the hidden-object scenes. These are written and it is not an option to have them read aloud to you. Recommended for ages 8 and up.