Voodoo Chronicles: The First Sign review for PSN, PC

Platform: PSN
Also On: PC
Publisher: Sanuk Games SARL
Developer: Space Monkey Games Factory International
Medium: Digital
Players: 1-2
Online: No
ESRB: E10+

If you’re going to play Voodoo Chronicles: The First Sign, you need to be aware of certain things before you begin. For example: be ready for some ever-so-slight racism.

Actually, that’s probably overstating things and using needlessly inflammatory language. After all, a key part of the game’s story involves voodoo (as the title would imply), so it only stands to reason that it would include some outdated imagery, like shrunken heads and witch doctors. At the same time, however, when you go to open the game from the XMB menu, this is the image you click on. Maybe I’m just being a little oversensitive, but when I see an image of a black person with an exaggerated lower lip and a bone sticking through their hair, I can’t help but find it a little…racially problematic. (The fact the game’s publisher quickly changed the official cover art to this suggests that I’m not the only person who thought that way.)


So that’s one thing. Another thing to be aware of: you need to play Voodoo Chronicles on a big, high def screen. And I don’t mean that in a “if you want to fully experience everything this game has to offer, you’ll play it on a big LCD screen” sort of way. I mean that the game is almost literally unplayable unless you’ve got one of those. I started out playing Voodoo Chronicles on a small-ish LCD TV, and I could barely make out half of the hidden objects I was expected to find. It was only after I moved over to a significantly larger screen that I was able to find things like buttons, coffee beans and slightly-concealed heart lockets without just randomly moving my cursor around and clicking.

And that’s not all you have to know. More crucial information: Voodoo Chronicles is incredibly short — as in, it can be beaten, with 100% of the trophies obtained, in one medium-length sitting. None of the puzzles or minigames are that difficult (provided, of course, you have a proper-sized TV), and the game moves forward in a pretty linear fashion. If it’s a long, deep challenge you’re after, this game won’t provide it.

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Say, however, that none of that matters to you — that you’re dead set on finding a hidden object game for your PS3, and you don’t care that much about length, racial issues or image quality. In that scenario, would Voodoo Chronicles be worth your time?

I’m surprised to find myself saying this, but…yes. Keeping all those provisos in mind, I can honestly say that I enjoyed my time with the game, however brief (and initially troubling) it may have been. Voodoo Chronicles does a good job of keeping the hidden object scenes coming, and it wraps them up in an engaging story, set in a neat, retro-futuristic world where robot cops patrol the streets and people travel by zeppelin. It may not look the greatest, but the imagination that went into the game’s creation shows in almost every scene. Couple that with an inexpensive price tag (only $6!), and it’s easy to say if you’re a fan of the hidden object genre, Voodoo Chronicles is a worthwhile investment.

Grade: B-