For those unfamiliar with the Carol Reed series
of games, Carol is an Englishwoman living in the Swedish city of
Norrköping. Carol solves mysteries, often but not limited to solving
murders. The Carol Reed games are first person point-and-click and make
use of photographs of real people and places instead of pre-rendered
graphics or 3D. Geospots and other games in the Carol Reed series are
available through links on the developer's website at https://www.mdna-games.com
Carol's friend Stina is concerned because Carol
is out of work and doesn't have enough to do. So Stina introduces Carol
to geocaching, which involves using a GPS to find plastic or metal
containers that have been hidden by a "geocacher" in a sort of
hide and seek type game. The geocache containers in the game often have
puzzle locks, and require clues found nearby or in another location
indicated on the outside of the geocache container. Inside they may
contain a paper to sign your name on or a clue to another geocache.
Stina needs Carol to help her find a cache so "StinaQT" can
qualify for the yearly Geothon contest. (Isn't that cheating to have
someone else do it for you?) Anyway Carol has to find the cache, figure
out how to open it, and add Stina's name to the list of successful
finders on the paper inside the cache.
After doing so, Carol goes back home to attend
to her plastic bucket of wine. Almost immediately Stina phones her again
with another mission. Kevo Walthin, the "geocacher"
responsible for hiding the geocaches for the current year's Geothon
contest, has gone missing. Carol finally has her mystery. Has he been
injured while hiding a geocache? Has something worse happened? or has he
simply gotten lost while hiding a cache? Stina doesn't know, but he's
never been missing this long before. So Stina calls on her favorite
detective. It's unpaid work, but Carol has only a big box edition of The
Forgotten (1999) waiting for her at home on her desk (and probably a
good deal of troubleshooting to get it running), and there's only so
long you can sit watching homemade wine bubble, so Carol might as well
keep in practice. Besides, Stina assures her she'll surely get something
worthwhile out of the investigation. So off she goes, following in the
footsteps of Kevo's last known whereabouts and following clues wherever
they may lead.
Carol's friend Stina and boyfriend Jonas are
back, as is the much tattooed Bigge. Yes the original Bigge is back, a
delight for all his fans. Carol has to take pictures for him (not of
him) for his Instagram and he insists the pictures be
"artistic." Bigge has good taste and won't accept pictures of
any old thing.
You visit several locations, such as a ruined
church (Halljo Church), a botanical trail, a dilapidated barn with
strange glass bottles of ancient animal antibiotics, a trail through an
unusual rock formation, a museum (Medieval Museum), a modern stable, an
office building, a transformer tower, a roadside memorial for the bass
guitarist of Metallica, an industrial park, several peoples' houses and
apartments, and more. Perhaps the most unusual place you visit is an
enormous beer can collection at the Paraphernalia Treasury.
Much of the game involves finding and opening
geocaches, trying to follow in the footsteps of the missing person who
hid them. Although you can revisit many locations, the game is linear in
how you can progress. Sometimes Carol insists there is something she
must do before revisiting a location (for example, when I tried to
revisit Bigge before getting all his pictures for him, Carol refused).
Carol finds (or is given) a clue that leads her to visit or revisit a
location where she finds a clue to the next location. When she runs out
of clues, someone phones her up to give her another clue (or invites her
to visit them, at which time they give her the clue). Once you finish up
everything you ever have to do in the game at a particular location, it
will disappear from the Map.
The geocache puzzles often involve color
matching. I had a minor issue where the yellow color I was supposed to
match showed up as a yellowish green instead of yellow. Whether or not
you have this issue probably depends on monitor calibration.
Other puzzles include finding a good place to
take a picture, locating a lost bicycle key and guessing a password
using a person's interests as clues.
There are two installers, one for an HD version
of the game and one for an SD version. The HD version is for computer
monitors with a resolution of 1920x1080 or higher. Players with certain
laptops (especially smaller ones) or non-widescreen monitors will
probably want to use the SD version of the installer, which supports
resolutions down to 1280x720.
Starting and Playing the Game
The first thing you see when you start the game
is a Game Settings window, which has a Display tab that lists your video
card (Display device) and color depth (default is 32 bit). There are
also checkboxes for "Use same resolution as your desktop" and
"Run in window." There is a 2nd tab for Sound, with a dropdown
box set to "Primary Sound Driver" by default. There may also
be options for using S/PDIF and HDMI if your computer supports them.
There is also a checkbox for "Don't show this window again, but you
may want to check that your video and sound are working as you want in
the game before checking that box.
Controls and Hint Feature
The game starts with a Tutorial with the option
to skip. As far as I could tell, the controls were much the same as in
other Carol Reed games. Simple point-and-click, move the cursor to the
left or right to get an icon for rotating 90 degrees. Inventory is at
the top of the screen, but only visible if you move your cursor up
there. You click-and-drag items from the inventory and either use them
in the game or right-click to release them back to the inventory.
Right-click objects while they're in inventory to get a close-up. Drag
an inventory item over another inventory item to combine the two items
or use one on another. If the items can be combined, the item you're
holding will be highlighted. A gear icon in the main game screen means
you can use an inventory item in the environment, though you may not
have that item yet. An eye icon means you can look closer at something.
A hand icon means you can interact with an item.
Carol has a notebook at the left side of the
inventory bar. The notebook lists Objectives and Hints. Remember to
mouse around to find what text will highlight. During the Tutorial, when
I was zoomed into the notebook, I had trouble figuring out what to click
to exit the notepad. That wouldn't have happened if I'd looked for
highlighted text as opposed to simply clicking on words that weren't
highlighted. Alternatively you may see a double arrow pointing downwards
instead of highlighted text to back out of an interface or an area
you've zoomed in on.
The Tutorial is short and might be worth going
through just to review how to use the notebook. Some features are
covered during the start of the game itself rather than the tutorial.
For example, you can press the space bar to highlight areas of the
screen that can be clicked, and this is pointed out after the Tutorial.
Using the space bar will highight screen exits as well as interactive
While playing the game you can right-click or
press the Escape key to access the Main Menu, which has options for
Resume, New game, Load, Save Options, and Quit. The Options in the Main
Menu has separate slidebars for Speech, Music, and Effects as well as an
option for Subtitles On or Off. So if you're not satisfied with the
relative sound volumes while playing the game, you can access the Main
Menu, select Options, adjust the sound volumes for Music, Speech, and
Effects, and then use Resume to return to playing the game.
There is a Map that appears when you exit an
area. Locations you haven't visited yet will flash on and off on the Map
screen. If a new location becomes available while you're playing, a Map
of Sweden will briefly flash on and off at the left of the screen. Often
you see Carol's bicycle on the Exit screens – her primary mode of
transportation besides walking.
Saving the Game
The game supports manual saves. It will also
autosave when you exit. There are 9 screens with 12 save slots per
screen, making a total of 108 save slots. The saves on my computer seem
to be located in the C:\Users\username\Saved Games\Geospots –
HD\ folder. When I restarted the game to check some things for the
review, the game warned me that I would lose my progress. However the
only thing I lost was the last autosave location. The manual saves I'd
made were still available and loaded up just fine.
I noticed Carol had no toilet paper by her
toilet. Instead there was a roll of paper towels. I wonder if she'll be
getting a visit from her plumber soon. It will probably be the
Carol still has her treadmill for exercise, and
you can get her to use it, but not for long. Maybe Carol doesn't have
much endurance -- or more likely just not much patience. With all the
bicycling she does her physical endurance is probably just fine.
The game uses the Wintermute game engine.
Recommended to any fan of the Carol Reed series
The Computer I played the game on
has the following specs:
OS: Windows 8.1
Processor: AMD X4 905e processor @ 2.5 GHz
Memory: 8 GB RAM
Graphics: Radeon HD 7700 with 2 GB video RAM
Sound: onboard audio
Monitor: HP ZR2440w 1920x1200 IPS monitor