If there’s one thing that the App Store lacks, it’s more art-themed games. The ones I’ve tried are usually stealth games which means they focus on stealing gorgeous paintings rather than actually appreciating them. Art Mogul breaks out of the art-meets-stealth-game mode by doing two things: combining hidden-object game mechanics with tycoon-style sim gameplay.
If you think about it, paintings make perfect sense for a hidden object, art-themed game. In Art Mogul HD, you are amply rewarded if you have a sharp eye for detail. For example, when you buy paintings, you get big discounts if you spot hidden objects; conversely, when you sell paintings, you can drive up the market value if you spot all the hidden objects. Money is not all of it though, you also need to build your reputation as an expert on art so you need to spot the difference between an original and fake painting to earn stars.
The main goal of Art Mogul HD is to build a solid art collection and acquire galleries around the world. While there are just a few locations, there are plenty of beautiful paintings to admire and acquire. Although a bit simplistic, the basic formula is buy cheap in one gallery and make a fortune in another. It would have been more interesting if you have say, two galleries to choose from that would be interested in buying your painting. I’ve found that each painting corresponds to just one interested gallery (the rest will say the artwork is not fashionable at the moment).
Much like most simulation games, there are side quests – i.e. requests from an auction house for an object found in a specific painting, that you can work on to earn more money. There’s also a bank where you can deposit your money or withdraw needed funds to acquire a painting if you’re short on cash.
The most exciting part of Art Mogul HD is the bidding process for finer paintings. In a matter of seconds, you need to spot an object quickly to stun your competitors and win the auction. In addition, you can also try your luck at the café and drive up your selling price through a wheel of ‘fortune’ (for lack of a better term) where you rely on chance that the arrow will point to a favorable result. You can also try your luck with buying original paintings (though most of the time you will be looking for clever forgeries).
The paintings are depicted in all their glory, and span a range of art styles and periods. Locations, however, are mostly static, and the game implements a rather simplistic and clunky way of traveling and going from the café to the gallery to the auction house. This is a minor quibble, really, since overall, the game is just fantastic.
Art Mogul HD is a must have game for fans of hidden object games. It’s a fresh and inspired take on the rather stale genre, and the tycoon aspect of it makes it even more fun.
appSIZED rating: 5 out of 5
App: Art Mogul HD
Download: Art Mogul HD
Device: iPad only
Copy: Provided by the developer
Price: FREE (Unlock the full game via in-app purchase for $4.99)
Developer/Publisher: G5 Games