2009-12-15 10:05 by Rohit Shirke
The project took almost a year for the completion right from the concept to the release. A team of 4 lead programmers, 4 Puzzle programmers, 2 Creative Directors, 2 Executive Producers, 8 Graphic Artists and a pool of testers worked on this project. Speaking to GamingXpress Jugul Thachery, Founder and MD, ChaYoWo games said "We have worked and reworked on the graphics and game flow a number of times to get it right. Tested and fine tuned the game a dozen times to make sure that the game is just right for the audience. Since it was the first time a new 3 player mechanics was being used in the Hidden Object genre, we had to get it right. Once the survey results of that turned out positive, we were confident that the game would do well."
The game begins as four young cousins visit their grandmother in the village of Cherai. She delights them with stories of a local treasure-hunter, Wyatt, who recently found something but succumbed to the accompanying curse. The children are thriled with the story of the former King of Cherai and his treacherous court magician. The children go to sleep, visions of treasure, dark sorcery, and murder ringing in their heads. While it is still dark, the oldest, Tara, awakes to find young Arjun missing. Knowing that he has probably gone to find the treasure, she sets off on a quest to track him down before trouble can find him.
However, once Tara reaches the snake temple and can go no further 'The Dark Hills of Cherai' hits with a rarely used game dynamic: multiple playable characters. As Tara contemplates what to do, another cousin, Rahul, wakes up to find them missing, and sets off on his own quest to find the missing relatives. Eventually, the last cousin at home will also set off (with Grandma in tow) in yet a third direction. Each child will find pieces of the puzzle, but it is only when they combine their efforts that they will manage to find the missing treasure, cousin Arjun, and the evil magician who has kidnapped him.
Gameplay is simple and is accomplished with the click of a mouse. The cursor will change to arrows and text indicating a location or simply "path ahead" to let the player know which way they can go. As the player enters the scene a list of hidden objects will appear that need to be found before you can continue. Some objects will go into the inventory for use either within that area or later in the game. Showers of sparks denote areas that require some action or which involve mini-games.
And there are a lot of mini-games too. Gamers can clear the scene and receive a "magic herb" or can move along without completion, but you will have to come back eventually to find everything there is to find. There is a hint system for the hidden object scenes, with a timer that refills slowly and a skip button for the puzzles, also with a slow filling timer. You can play in easy, untimed mode for relaxed casual gameplay, or a timed "advanced" mode that can be more difficult. The easy mode includes a friendly ghost who will give you hints and help you along the way. The expected gameplay time is 5 hours and it depends from gamer to gamer.
One of the coolest aspects of 'The Dark Hills of Cherai' is the different playable characters. Each child is finding useful objects, not perhaps useful for them but for the other children. This necessitates all the characters finding the "meeting place", a central point to each of their journeys, where they cannot see each other but can swap objects blindly on a rotating merry-go-round. However, each character has to find the meeting place, which can be tricky. Once the characters have the items they need they can go back and proceed along their own journeys. Switching between the children is simple, bars at the top indicate the cousins so just click on the bar and you are ready to go. Play one child for a while or switch rapidly back and forth between them, it is up to you. Eventually everyone will meet up in time to challenge the evil magician and rescue poor Arjun.
The major markets which ChaYoWo is planning to attract for this title are North America, Europe and Japan. The localized versions in European languages and Japanese will be launched soon and the MAC version of the game will be out soon. "The game was released on Dec 6 and we are sure we have a winner at hand. The game is already no.3 in the Top 100 downloads charts on Big Fish and we are sure it will do well." Added Jugul.
ChaYoWo Games has a lot of titles coming up soon based on the Indian theme on various platforms. The team is working on games for PC, iPhone, Android, XBLA, Social Platforms like Facebook apart from Online games. ChaYoWo has to its credit hit games like The Parking Lot, runner-up in Nickelodeon - AG. ChaYoWo Games also has 4 new PC Downloads slated for launch soon. ChaYoWo Games will soon be releasing 6 iPhone games to follow the success of its existing titles.
The game reaching no.3 in the top downloads list speaks volumes for itself and certainly highlights the efforts that the development team at ChaYoWo games has put in. We are sure gamers must be eagerly waiting for the next game by ChayoWo. GamingXpress will keep you posted about the latest developments by ChaYoWo games.