The Magician's Handbook II: BlackLore
The Magician's Handbook II: BlackLore is a hidden object game with adventure elements and a witchery theme. Like in its predecessor, most of the time the objective is to find and click on all the items listed at the right side of the screen, on locations filled with assorted objects placed discreetly over hand-drawn backgrounds. At the start, the player has to select the difficulty and text modes, enabling or disabling the time limit and choosing between terse and verbose texts for the cutscenes.
New to this installment are the adventure portions, where in some locations the inventory tab replaces the list, and puzzles have to be solved in a typical point-and-click fashion by dragging and dropping inventory objects on parts of the scenery. After some time, the game gives the option of skipping altogether the puzzle, lowering the final score as a penalty. The puzzles are self-contained, taking place on one location or screen only.
Besides the required objects, most screens have three key types that can be collected to open the containers stored in the Safe Haven, a place filled with locked chests where the timer stops running. The chests are unlocked using a combination of different keys, shown as the wand cursors hovers over them. They contain new spells, extra hints and new cursor wands. The repel spell removes any distracting animations from the screen, like flying books and other odd occurrences.
At the end of the first chapters, a separate screen appears split with two similar images, the top one in sepia tones and the bottom one in full colors. The goal is to replace the missing objects from the color image, using the complete sepia one as a reference, by dragging and dropping the items from the bottom of the screen. After completing it, a new spell is received and learned to be used on puzzles in the adventure sections. The fire spell sets stuff ablaze, the wind spell blows leaves and other debris to reveal concealed items, the petrify puzzle turns objects to stone, the heal spell brings dead things back to life and the detect spell reveals hidden objects.
The reveal spell acts as the hint button, showing the exact position of one of the required objects. It starts with five available uses on each chapter, slowly recharging after all of them are spent.
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