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Treasure Jones

For: iPhone

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Product: Treasure Jones | Developer: In-house | Publisher: Meridian Digital Entertainment | Format: iPhone | Genre: Action, Platform | Players: 1 | Networking: wireless (network) | Version: Europe | App version: 1.0
Treasure Jones iPhone, thumbnail 1
I wonder how many thirty-something archaeologists followed their career paths because of the Indiana Jones films. After all, George Lucas’s second-most-famous creation almost single-handedly made the dusty profession sexy.

Of course, Indy’s whip-cracking exploits have also inspired numerous video games, none more explicitly than Treasure Jones. From the oh-so-subtle name to his brown fedora and bull-whip, Treasure Jones couldn’t be more of an Indiana homage if it turned out his dad used to be James Bond.

Developer Meridian Digital Entertainment has crafted a side-scrolling action game, whereby you stroll from left to right fighting wild animals and looking for clues from your trusty dog that treasure might lurk below.

Dig dog

Your four-legged companion is almost a living metal detector, such is his uncanny ability to sniff out valuable goods. These include items of jewellery that can be turned into currency, objects with no monetary value but considerable practical use like new weapons, and the relics that are your ultimate objective in each level.

Finding treasure and scooping up coins from downed enemies helps fill your coffers, which can be spent on upgrades to your core abilities (health, attack and speed), special tools (a crowbar, a pick-axe and dynamite), or boost the effectiveness of your regular equipment including your dog.

Accumulating funds this way is a painstakingly slow task given the high costs of each upgrade, so your best bet is to dig up complete groups of jewellery. Unearth four varieties of amethyst jewellery, for example, and you get a hefty reward.

Historical scrap

It’s this gotta collect ‘em all incentive that drives you through Treasure Jones, even as other areas of the game leave a little to be desired.

Combat is a repetitive, grinding affair that requires more dogged persistence than skill. Battling wild animals is a matter of hammering the attack button, mixing in the odd dog-bark when things get a little hectic.

Enemies spawn with alarming regularity and it can be annoying having to interrupt your excavation work to fend off yet another wolf or bat attack. This is at its worst before you start to level up your whip, when it can take half a dozen standard attacks just to down a single wolf.

There’s a rudimentary combo system that racks up as you score consecutive hits, but as there’s little skill or timing involved, its inclusion seems superfluous.

Weary Indiana

Indeed, the repetitiveness of the combat system can be applied to the game as a whole. Each level is a flat trudge from left to right doing the same things repeatedly.

It’s undoubtedly made more bearable by lovely graphics and animation, although this takes its toll on older devices with occasionally less-than-smooth framerate and frequent loading screens.

All in all then, Treasure Jones is like an ancient jewel-encrusted tool that an archaeologist might dig up. It’s great to look at, but is too basic to have the mass appeal of its adventuresome inspiration.
Treasure Jones
Reviewer photo
Jon Mundy | 3 November 2010
Treasure Jones is a fine-looking game with plenty to uncover and collect, but its core gameplay is too limited and repetitive to be considered a valuable find
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