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CLUE:Secrets & Spies - The first hit is free!

My mother-in-law loves hidden-object games. One day as she was playing, I pulled up a chair to chat and see if I could find any objects too. Well, I got hooked. Later that night I downloaded the same game and spent hours playing!! Now it's our "thing," where we'll find a new hidden-object game and play it together. Yeah, my MIL is awesome. ^_^

So I was thrilled when I saw that Pogo *finally* had a hidden-object game available! CLUE: Secrets & Spies is the first ever hidden-object game on Pogo, and hopefully there will be more in the future! (Here on out the game is abbreviated as CLUE:SS.) 

CLUE:SS has nothing to do with the CLUE board game. Instead, you're a spy looking for clues about another spy, or something like that. The game is broken into episodes, with each episode featuring 5 hidden-object rounds plus a final spot-the-differences round. Each episode has a time limit of an hour. I finished the first episode in 7 minutes, so you have PLENTY of time.

Ooohhh... Looks technical!

The first episode is available for free. The rest... well, more on that later. ^_^

For "The Mole in Morocco," your 5 destinations are Paris, Venice, Istanbul, Casablanca, and New York.

Next up on CSI:International...

You can pick any city you want, other than New York. In order to play New York you have to find the night-vision goggles, which are hidden in another city.

If you've never played a hidden-object game, prepare to be amazed! (Click on the pic for full detail.)

Ahh.. Venice is so beautiful this time of year!

Inside this gorgeous picture are 10+ objects for you to find. (They're listed on the left.) Items can be hidden anywhere on the photo. Check patterns in clothing and wallpapers if you get stuck!

Istanbul was Constantinople. 

Some items have double (or triple!) meanings. For example, a bow might be a ribbon, bow tie, or even a violin bow! Keep your eyes open and stretch your mind!

Here's looking at you, kid.

Come across an item you've never heard of? Pause the game by clicking MAP, then do a search on Google Images so you have an idea of what to look for.

I spy with my little eye... A button!

If you get stuck, click on the CLUE button. A gigantic glowy ring will replace your cursor and help you locate one of the items on your list. But uh, the gigantic glowy ring isn't very specific. Prepare for mass clicking.

Once you find the night vision goggles you can head to New York. This room is completely dark and the goggles turn your cursor into a flashlight. Move your cursor around to illuminate the room and find the objects!

Gah. I hate dark rooms!

There are mannequins in the room, so don't freak out when you see them. ^_^

Personally, I dislike dark rooms. I want to see the whole picture and not be forced to stare at a little bit at a time. Bleh.

Once you've finished all 5 hidden-object boards, you move to the final challenge: a spot-the-differences board.


Here you have to find 15 differences between the two pictures. Your cursor doubles, so that you move across both pictures at the same time. It sounds confusing, but it helps. ^_^

The differences are often very, very small. Don't be afraid to use that CLUE button!

I don't like find-the-differences games, as they give me a headache. But they're a staple of this genre. Booooo. :(

If you finish the episode before the hour is up, you earn a jackpot spin! Pogo features progressive jackpots that max out at $4,999. It's incredibly unlikely that you will win the JP, but you'll still pick up bonus tokens, so it isn't a total waste. ^_^

Tips & Tricks

When a game screen loads a message pops up to remind you of the time limit. There's a checkbox in the corner that hides the message for the rest of the game. DO NOT HIDE IT!!! While it's up on the screen the timer is stopped, and it's transparent to boot. This gives you a great chance to look for items on the list before the timer starts!

Completing an episode without using any hints gives a 100 token bonus, but ONLY for the first time you play the episode. (More on that in a bit.) I like a challenging game, but when it swings to frustration I'll use a hint. Games are supposed to be fun. ^_^

If you have trouble seeing some of the darker boards, try adjusting the contrast or brightness on your monitor. More tips and suggestions can be found at BadgeHungry, a fantastic Pogo fan site!

Rant Time

I really liked this game. But the way Pogo released it just infuriates me. Why am I so mad? Well the reason I titled this post, "CLUE: Secrets & Spies - The first hit is free!" is because you can play one episode for free. After that, you gotta pay!

Follow the math here. You buy additional episodes with Pogo Gems. Each episode costs 40 gems. Currently there are 6 buyable episodes, so that's 240 gems. Gems come in several package sizes, but the absolute cheapest way to get 240 gems costs 15 dollars. That's a whopping $2.50 per episode. (Keep in mind that the one free episode took me less than 10 minutes to complete, AND they're hoping to release new episodes in the future.)

A year subscription to Pogo is $39.99, which is nearly half the cost of this one game right there. But even members don't get CLUE:SS for free! They get a 2nd episode for free and then a 50% discount on the other episodes. That's still $7 for an unfinished game.

As previously mentioned, I've played many, many hidden-object games with my mother-in-law. So I have a pretty good idea how much these games cost. My favorite series is Big City Adventure, and you can buy a full game for $7 at Big Fish Games. That $7 covers a game so massive that it takes my MIL and I at least 20 hours to go through it all.

If you think the episodes might be worth buying so you can replay for tokens, they aren't. When I played the first episode again I got this lovely message.


Unfortunately, they're serious. If you play the same episode over you will earn 1/10th of the tokens. Sure, the game is a little easier when you've played it a few times, but they should find a better way to balance the tokens!

I'm not against Pogo making money. They are a business and I understand that. But I am strongly against ripping customers off, and that's exactly what they're doing here. New episodes should cost $1 at the most and become cheaper over time.

Final Rating

Ugh. I don't think I've ever been so torn. The game itself is good, but the way Pogo is selling it is a complete turn off.

The hidden-object boards are well done. They aren't a bunch of random objects thrown together, which is nice. The plot isn't a big deal to me, but I'm glad it doesn't take up a lot of game time. Simple = good.

What I got to play is honestly a 5 star game. But I'm deducting 2 stars for Pogo being skeezy. My blog, my rules. ^_^

3 stars out of 5.

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