Welcome back to BURIED! I recommend that you read my other posts on the game before reading this part. The other posts have clues to where you need to go; this is more of a review of the experience.
This was the second game from MadPea Productions that I participated in, and after this, I feel like my honeymoon with MadPea games is over. What I mean by that is my initial thrill and excitement about participating in such has waned. Why? It may help if I compared it to the other game that I played – Blood Letters.
The beginning – Pierus Camping
I felt that the story line of Buried was pretty good – it had a lot of background detail. But unlike Blood Letters, where each letter at the office had a clue of where to look, there were very little text clues in Buried. I felt it was a lot of wandering around in the beginning (on the island). I think the HUD should have had an indicator for how many clues you needed to get off the island, as well as when you found a clue. This was like the hunt before you can start the hunt, but with little guidance.
Even when I visited all of the locations, the game still did not let me advance. I had to ask for help because I was frustrated. It turned out that I didn’t stand on the pile of dirt long enough to catch the geocaching clue. Then it took several tries to activate my tablet because it was difficult to click on the Lilypad, and the timer on the dirt pile was way too short. To me, that looks like no one tested that part of the hunt (meaning someone who had no experience of using that item before). If they did, they would had caught that and fixed it. No one wants to dig 3-5 times to get one item, especially when other people are waiting to do the same thing.
The middle – Following the map
To be fair, Buried did have clues in the game itself. It had the map on the HUD (geocaching, which I had never heard of before), and an “X” marked the location of the item. I would love to know how they did the geocaching. For me, the map did NOT help that much. I understand that you have to go into wireframe mode (Control+Shift+R) in order to properly see the layout. It only seems to work in locations where there are not a lot of items or the overall build is very distinctive. And if the item is inside 2 builds (e.g. furniture inside a store), the map doesn’t help. Then there was the issue of how at several locations, the map didn’t look like anything on the actual sim. So did the store participants change things around? Did those who took the pictures flipped things around a bit too much? I don’t know. I am not the only one who observed this – someone who helped me during the hunt said this after I asked were there any tricky stops. Also, someone who made a walk-through video showed visually how the map and the store did not match.
The end – Finale
I felt like the story was unfinished (and not in a good way). In Blood Letters, we rescued our parents while Samantha Mantis managed to escape, but alluded that she may be back someday. So things were somewhat resolved with an opening for a Part II possibly. With Buried, we find Lily barely alive. What happened with the police? The prize money? Joshua’s reaction? Who is behind C-Me, and did Lily find out any other details? I felt like it needed one more scene to tie up some of the loose ends and to resonate with what was said in the introduction.
I thought the island was beautiful in itself. It would be a nice place to go and hang out, and even good to take pictures. Also, I liked the capsules and how the game progressed from harmless to dangerous. The voiceovers were a good addition to the game. There were not many separate builds that were specifically designed for the game like there were in Blood Letters. However Buried did seem like a scavenger hunt, so for the most part the separate builds were not needed.
With Blood Letters, you had to go at the pace of the game, which was one clue a day. I didn’t mind as much, because if you don’t have a lot of time on your hands, it’s pretty good to do a little bit each day. Also, I always saw a lot of people playing the game no matter what location I went to. With Buried, I hardly saw anyone after stop 1. So you didn’t have much of a choice but to ask for help in the group. I don’t think there is much you can do about it, because it’s just a preference regarding to the pace of the game. I guess I prefer to have the progress slightly limited than to do all of it at once.
Just for the fact that there was a LOT of prizes in the last game, it makes sense that the probability of finding prizes that you really like will increase. All of the prizes though appear to be of quality – I don’t really remember looking at an item and thinking to myself, “This looks like a rush job” or anything like that.
Well, Blood Letters was 400L to participate, and Buried was 300L. Buried wins! ^^ Is the game worth 300L to play? If you would asked me in the beginning I would had said, “Absolutely not” because I was so frustrated. Now, I will say 300L was probably the upper limit of what I would pay, but 250L would have been better. I know a lot of work was done with the geocaching aspect, but the maps and the digging of a hole multiple times in one session were too messy for it to be a vital part of the game.
I had heard from a friend that “Buried is described as the most laggy game people have imagined”. I know I had experienced extreme lag at one of the stores (and it was the same store when they participated in Blood Letters). By extreme, I mean my computer had frozen for several minutes while someone was trying to help me find the first capsule. The rest of the stores were pretty much okay for lag. I think if you have a lot of mesh objects in your store, either for sale or just decor, it will be hard for people to try to render them all, never mind try to find a small object. Combined with the high traffic, that just doesn’t make for good gameplay. Also, if you are in a location with a lot of mesh, chances are at one point you will need to relog (that is, if you don’t crash).
I think in cases where there is a lot of lag at a store, there should be a separate game area like Michigans Shack did (and a good deal of stores during Blood Letters) to minimize that. This may be relatively hard to test, because if your computer has high-end specs, you won’t experience SL in the same way someone with a standard or an older computer would. It’s easy to tell people to upgrade their computer, but in the meantime this is not creating the ideal experience for gamers. The players should not have to deal with unnecessary lag at the locations.
(taken from group chat):
Person 1: morning all! Started the buried hunt..but I am still stuck on the first one lol, doesnt help that i am lagging like a mofo. can somebody please have mercy on me and point me in the right direction?!
Person 2: I got the same problem there is already crashed 8 times on #01
Person 3: if you im me i can help you
Person 2: is it because its tuesday and LL might do rolling restarts that whole sl is a LAGG place or just this 1 spot?
Person 1: i always have this problem at cheeky pea
Person 4: nods
Person 1: lol the sim is gorgeous but my comp is not a fan
Person 1: thank you everybody for the help, i could cry in relief right now lol
In Blood Letters I believe Day 17 was tricky. They had a club, and the dead body was found in the bathroom stall, sitting on the toilet. However, in order to find it, you had to sit on several toilets and use a certain animation to get the body. That was clever, but frustrating. The good thing was, it was about 10 of us looking (random people – we were not together). Now imagine that frustration several times over, and without the camaraderie of other players looking for the same thing that you are. You have something like this:
(taken from the group chat)
Person 1: can i get a hint for #1 plz=
Person 2: and for the rest to?? 😛
Person 3: lol
Person 2: not gonna badmouth anyone but i mean already at #1 😛 people cant puzzle nowdays 😛
Person 4: seriously? when you have no idea what you are looking for it is ok to ask)
Person 2: Well i guess its different for everyone 🙂 you can always read more 😛
Person 2: cya all later
Person 2: hugs all around
Person 5: If you’re that good Person 2, I’m sure you’re good at giving hints too…that’s what’s asked for, a hint. Not a solution. exactly what this group is meant for
Person 4 nods
Person 6: everyone needs help sometimes
Person 6: there’s no shame to ask
Person 6: And it’s kinda bad for someone to tease or put someone down for it
I have seen a lot more of this sort of chat than I did for Blood Letters, and the game has just started. I think it’s because there are a lot more smug people who have already finished than it was in the other game. In Blood Letters, everyone was waiting in anticipation for the next part of the story to be revealed, so it was a different vibe. Don’t get me wrong – there are many supportive people in the group. I was just surprised at the frequency at this sort of chat so early in the game.
Conclusion: If you like hunts such as the Twisted Hunt, or you are exceptional at spatial ability, then this is a good hunt for you. If you prefer written clues to help decipher your next target location, this game will be difficult (unless you read my previous posts ^^ ), but worth playing.