Being a park ranger sounded like an exciting career before I played Vacation Adventures: Park Ranger 2. I spent a lot of time as a kid watching Ranger Smith in Yogi Bear getting up to all sorts of mischief, and while I didn’t expect anthropomorphic mammals I was disappointed to find that this just another shallow eShop title.
You’re back in employment at Pinecreek Hi lls and you’re ready to get stuck in, but apparently at this park a rangers’ job mostly involves finding a list of random items amongst piles of junk. If you’ve played a ‘find the item’ game before you know what to expect; you get a shopping list, you’re given a scene in which to find said items amongst other random artefacts and that’s pretty much it.
There’s a tutorial if you need a little help but otherwise you can jump straight in which is recommended because it’s easy enough to pick up. The game mostly uses the touchscreen to have you forage your way through a variety of locations to find what you need, but utilises the shoulder buttons to zoom in and also the A button to activate hints if you’re struggling to find something in particular. Once you’ve found what you’re looking for a simple tap at the touchscreen, watching your item disappear off the screen leading your way to victory.
Most of the items are easy to spot, but some are craftily hidden in woodwork or disguised as something else. When looking for a House for example, you’re really looking for a picture of one rather than an actual building. As well as your list of objects you also get to have a go at wildlife hunting as you’re offered a selection of optional silhouettes to find. This plays out exactly the same as the rest of the game only you’re following the blacked out picture of animals rather than a list of items. If all else fails and you cannot find something the tried and tested method of tapping frantically at your screen usually works and grants victory to those impatient for the hint bar to fill up. Levels also offer small challenges such as fixing or cleaning displays which really just involves finding one item and dragging it across to another.
Between levels you’re offered mini games which usually involve jigsaw type situations like rotating pieces of a wall chart or fitting a map back together. These are optionally but offer respite in an otherwise very repetitive experience.
You’ll spend half your time with the game zoomed in because it’s almost impossible to find anything in the hideous main scene screen which becomes a mess of ugly colours and rubbish designs. Once zoomed it doesn’t look half bad it’s just a shame this quality couldn’t follow through once fully optimised.
Overall this is a predictably shallow experience that would probably please those who have exhausted the ever growing population of games of this ilk but if you want an engaging, fun puzzler with lots of variety look elsewhere.
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