In India, a small boy named Arjun learns from his grandmother about the legendary cursed treasure of the King of Cherai, and the evil magician Digambar that was searching it for many years. Inspired by the tale, Arjun decides to go hunt for the lost treasure only to be captured by the sorcerer. His three cousins start to investigate the hills of Cherai, on a desperate quest to find and release him from the clutches of the wizard.The Dark Hills of Cherai
is a hidden object game with adventure elements, where most of the time the objective is to find and click on all the items from a list at the bottom of the screen, on locations filled with assorted and scattered things, taking place in the region surrounding the castle of Digambar in the village of Cherai. There's a choice at the beginning between two modes, where the player can turn the time limit on or off for a more challenging or relaxed gameplay. Some of the collected objects are stored inside the inventory, that can be accessed with an interface button and switch places with the list. The inventory tools have be used as in most point-and-click adventures, by dragging and dropping them on logical places of the scenery to complete puzzles and perform a few necessary actions. Most of these interactions take place on zoom windows showing another angle of the scene.
One singular feature of the design is the inclusion of multiple characters, a gameplay feature reminiscent of Day of the Tentacle
, where each of the three cousins explore a different section of Cherai with its own locations. The player can switch at any time between the characters with a button at the top of the screen. They must go to a meeting place, accessible through the map screen, to exchange the inventory items necessary to solve puzzles. Some of the puzzles are self-contained and take place on separate screens, where the player has to manipulate a mechanism of some sort to solve them. They can be skipped, incurring in a time penalty in the timed mode.
A golden butterfly can be found resting on the locations, and clicking on it opens up a scroll with details about the place and its history. The Chakra medal at the bottom-right is the hint button, showing the position of one of the required items but taking some time to recharge after use. Inventory objects can be dragged and dropped on the hint button to display a picture of where they have to be used.
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