Cate West: The Vanishing Files was released earlier this year in the US, and it will finally be making its way to the UK on September 18. It's a hidden-object game where you play as the psychic Cate West who must help the local police with a series of ongoing investigations. We found it offered a substantial amount of content on the Wii, so we were glad to hear that it had made it completely intact in its move to the DS. We spoke to UK publisher Oxygen Games to find out more, as well as get a hands-on of the game.
Cate West works like many hidden-object games, and it's incredibly addictive for that reason. It's primarily based on simple spot-the-difference style of puzzles--sometimes you have to find certain objects within a cluttered environment, and at other times, you have to simply point out the difference between two images. Cate West has many variations on these themes, but the idea is to find things on the screen by hunting around and having a keen eye for detail.
Cate West puts a crime-based spin on these genre staples, so you'll be searching crime scenes and helping detectives figure out what's changed between two areas over a period of time. It's up to you to scan the screen in detail to find what you're looking for, but you can also zoom in to highlight certain areas and ask the game to point you in the direction you should look.
We found Cate West to be curiously addictive on the DS. The gameplay is undoubtedly very simple, but it's also very difficult to stop playing. You're given a generous amount of time to finish each puzzle--sometimes as much as 20 minutes. But you're punished within 30 seconds for randomly tapping on the screen. You're also rewarded for finding items in quick succession, but beyond a higher score, there doesn't seem to be too much incentive for playing well.
There are 15 levels in total, which will take you all over the fictional city of Arcadia. According to Oxygen, it will take between 10 and 15 hours to complete the full game, depending on your level of detective and/or psychic ability. The full game will be released in the UK on the Wii and DS on September 18, and you can check out our Wii review now.