Can't wait till January for your next (and final -- sob!) "Downton Abbey" fix? A new game gives you the chance to explore the Crawley estate in a fun and unusual way.
The plot goes like this: While the Crawleys and staff were away at a village fête, someone ransacked the house! (My money's on Thomas.) So it's your job to find various items in various rooms, as quickly as possible, in order to restore, well, order. Of course, your real job is to uncover the mystery behind the break-in.
As in most find-the-hidden-objects games, each scene is basically a richly detailed image (in this case of a room in the abbey) littered with various objects. You're given a list of three to find, and if you're quick about finding them in succession, you score bonus points. This is easier said than done, and certainly there's a benefit to playing on a tablet rather than phone: the bigger the screen, the easier it is to spot objects.
Although Mysteries of the Manor is free to play, it incorporates three forms of "currency" you need to collect in order to progress: diamonds, shillings and energy. You can earn these as you go, but certain tasks within the game (like "crafting") involve a wait unless you spend this currency for instant completion. In other words, you might have to wait out a 2-minute countdown clock just to go on to the next level. And each new room requires you to spend energy, so if you run out, you can't go on.
Unsurprisingly, you can buy more diamonds, shillings and/or energy via in-app purchase. You also need to manage inventory, rewards and other elements. Honestly, there's a bit of learning curve to what initially appears a simple exercise.
Although you won't hear the voices of any cast-members, Mysteries of the Manor does employ the familiar soundtrack of the TV show.
The game itself may not appeal to everyone -- it's really just a matter of searching and tapping -- but if you're a fan of show, it's certainly a fun diversion.