Hidden Object games, known as HOGs, require the player to locate a list of objects they can fnd throughout a still scene. Hidden Object games use a continuous storyline and richly detailed graphics to attract and hold the user's attention. HOGs have been popular for PC for years, but fans can now play some HOG games on the go with two Hidden Object games adapted for the PSP.
In Route 66, "Mad" Madeleine and grandpa Muddy head out for a road trip along historic Route 66. The pair start out in Santa Monica, California, making stops in states like Arizona, New Mexico and Texas before ending in Chicago. Mystery of the Crystal Portal follows journalist Nicole Rankwitz as she searches for her father, an archaeologist who claimed (before going missing) to have made an amazing discovery which could change the course of history.
Route 66 uses scenes of authentic Route 66 landmarks as backdrops. Explore ghost towns, famous diners, historic hotels and the iconic Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo. The game presents historical and geographic facts before each new scene, giving the game some educational authenticity. Mystery of the Crystal Portal is set in late 1920s New York. Nicole begins her search in the study of her father's apartment, then continues her search across the world, visiting exotic locations like Japan, Guatemala, Africa and Russia. You can find several different scenes to explore in each country.
Route 66 has removed the mini games found in the original PC version for the PSP, leaving little variety and a shorter game. You must find special items in each scene of Mystery of the Crystal Portal, clues that help you advance Nicole's search. After finding all the hidden objects and the special items, you can access secret areas which present different types of puzzles to solve. Solve the special puzzles to gather pieces for the mysterious crystal portal.
Route 66 provides simple controls. Use the analogue stick to explore the scene, the directional buttons to control the cursor and press X to choose an object. The game discourages random clicking by penalising the selection of unlisted items. Use hints sparingly, as there are only five hints to use throughout the entire game.
Mystery of the Crystal Portal has a more difficult user interface, requiring you to zoom in and out frequently, using the L and R buttons, to find all the objects. Use the analogue stick to move the cursor and "X" to choose an object. There is no penalty for random clicking, and unlimited hints refill after a short time.