Youda Legend: The Curse of the Amsterdam Diamond
The Curse of the Amsterdam Diamond is the first installment in the Youda Legend series of hidden-object mystery games. Like its successor, Golden Bird of Paradise, you play a world traveler who stumbles upon a supernatural mystery. And like that game, Youda Legend: The Curse of the Amsterdam Diamond is gorgeous and thoughtfully designed, with a compelling storyline.
Instead of sitting through a tiresome backstory, you're plunked right into the action. The first scene has you disembarking from a train at a station in Amsterdam, and you need to hunt for hidden objects to figure out where to stay for the night. Next, you cut to your hotel room--where the mystery really begins. The graphics are simply beautiful, and the game plays smoothly. The designers use animation sparingly and to good effect. Any characters are cleverly drawn two-dimensional cartoons that work well with their surroundings.
Unlike the Golden Bird of Paradise, the mini-games--while challenging--were quite playable. All the clues you need are at hand, and clicking a question mark brings up useful hints. You can skip them if you wish, but I found them interesting enough to complete.
If you enjoy hidden-object games, do yourself a favor and download the demo of Youda Legend: The Curse of the Amsterdam Diamond. It's only an hour long--but certainly long enough to get you hooked. Luckily, the full game is only $10.