Millionaire Manor: The Hidden Object Show
Year Published: 2010
Publisher: Strategy First
Developer: Gogii Games
If by the title you were expecting Millionaire Manor: The Hidden Object Show to be a game where you'd win money and prizes on a game show to upgrade a manor house, you'd be disappointed. In fact, there's a good chance that no matter what you were expecting, you'd be disappointed. "Millionaire Manor" refers to an eccentric millionaire villain who has kidnapped people and locked them in cages in his mansion. One of those people is the protagonist's grandfather, and when she arrives to save him, the millionaire forces her to play hidden object games to free him and the other prisoners. It's a mock game show with a literally captive audience.
The bizarre game show begins, not in a studio, but in some random rich guy's house.
That's it - there is very little to the story other than annoying characters arguing between levels. It's 25 scenes of almost pure hidden object hunting, no real puzzles or using items. Each scene has multiple variations, ie, item lists, silhouettes, jigsaw puzzles, riddles, and the particularly odd countdown mode in which you are given 30 seconds to find a single object. It's odd because if you don't find it, the game just moves to the next item, then repeats them as many times as necessary until you do. It's not possible to fail in Millionaire Manor.
The scenes are selected randomly by spinning a Wheel of Fortune-style wheel. It's possible to earn chips in bonus rounds that can be placed on the wheel to unlock new modes or skip them. The latter is mostly inconsequential because scenes often have multiple rounds. So, the wheel might land on "List", but then you'll be given several of the other variations to do immediately after, possibly even ones you asked to skip. And if you're going for 100%, you don't want to skip them anyway.
The main game is very brief, but you can continue playing past the ending if you want 100% completion (every possible scene variant finished at least once). Your only reward for beating them all, besides bragging rights, is an error message.
Find three hat.
I'm not adverse to hidden object devs attempting different things, but I greatly prefer some kind of overall structure to the complete randomness that is Millionaire Manor. The game show motif seems more or less an excuse for the haphazard design, as it's not even run like a traditional game show where you have chances to win and lose, and you earn prizes for winning. If all you mostly care about in this genre is finding items, and you don't mind outdated graphics with no animation, well this one gives you about six hours worth of that and nothing else.
Curiously, the ending sequence revealed to me that this is actually the third game in the "Hidden Object Show" series, and as fate would have it the others aren't on Steam, so I have no idea if this game was an improvement or decline in quality. I only know that I wasn't left wanting any more.