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iPhone  header logo

The Stone of Destiny

For: iPhone

Hardly rocky

Product: The Stone of Destiny | Developer: Artur Ostapenko | Publisher: Avallon Alliance | Format: iPhone | Genre: Puzzle | Players: 1 | Version: US | App version: 1.1
 
The Stone of Destiny iPhone, thumbnail 1
Looking for a misplaced item always results in finding myriad other missing things. It's as though the harder you look for something, the less likely you are to find it. Then, only when you're not ardently searching does that treasured thing appear - that's The Stone of Destiny. As we eagerly continue our search for iPhone gems, along comes this rock-solid adventure.

When your uncle unexpectedly goes missing, the only thing to do is keep an eye out for hidden objects. The Stone of Destiny takes you across the globe in search of artifacts enumerated in your uncle's notebook, which combine to form the keys needed to open a vault containing the titular gem. Locating every last object isn't the only task at hand, though. Like any true adventurer, you're to contend with puzzles and obstacles along the way that go beyond keen item discovery.

It's this variety that makes The Stone of Destiny so entertaining. Rather than limit the adventure to a series of static scenes, you move among item-searches, tracing pictographs with your finger, and solving simple puzzles. Comic book-style cutscenes forward the story at regular intervals, ensuring you have sufficient motivation to continue the adventure. It comes together quite nicely for a cohesive and totally entertaining experience.

Most of your time, however, is spent rooting-out hidden objects. A world map allows you to select a stage, of which there are usually a handful of available scenes at each junction. Intriguing locations from the Egyptian pyramids to a mock up of the Hebrew Wailing Wall to a Japanese pagoda ensure plenty of variety in the scenery. Locales pop up repeatedly, but you always are on the hunt for different items the second and third time around. A majority of scenes offer a list of items to find, although later in the game you're shown silhouettes along the bottom of the screen and must discern what the object is and then locate it. These are not only challenging, but instil variety even when you play the same scene a second time.

Finding all of the objects within a scene triggers a pictograph-tracing mini-game. A shape appears on the right side of the screen which you duplicate using your finger in a special rune field. The shapes start out simple enough, but grow increasing complex. Sure, it's a rather trite distraction, but does well in mixing things up and ties together the entire game by the time you reach the climactic conclusion. 3D puzzles also attempt to introduce variety into the game, although these appear with less frequency and as a result have less of an impact.

Attention to detail and mindful design have resulted in a beautifully crafted game. The Stone of Destiny feels complete and cohesive, boasting colorful scenes and finely tuned gameplay. Clearly an effort has been made to infuse some variety, yet the core gameplay is strong enough on its own to provide a satisfying experience. What the game lacks in originality, it more than makes up in sheer quality and a sense that it's a natural fit for iPhone.
 
The Stone of Destiny
Reviewer photo
Tracy Erickson | 8 October 2008
A rock-solid adventure packed with variety and colorful scenery
 
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