I am not the biggest Time Management game fan out there as I consider them extremely repetitive and lacking any sort of innovation, but since I’ve been playing nothing but hidden object games lately, I decided to give it a try when I saw the standard edition of 12 Labours of Hercules IV: Mother Nature on sale on Big Fish Games: it was cheap and it already had some really positive reviews so… why not?
What surprised me from the beginning was the opening scene: it was pretty obvious that a lot has been invested here and it’s a nice approach because time management games usually lack the sparkles and shine of such treats. It was a nice scene that told you the generic story about Hercules surviving another trial from the gods and moving on to return his lands to greater glory. Not new or impressive story-wise, but at least we’re up for a good start.
And now is when mixed emotions come in. 12 Labours of Hercules IV: Mother Nature is a traditional time management game: it brings absolutely nothing new to the table. You have workers, you have tasks, you have to click things and gather resources, unblock paths and then upgrade some buildings. All these while trying to beat times that you should normally have no problem beating. Oh, and there’s also a relaxed mode where you don’t have to worry about the timer – even though there’s nothing to worry about.
The mechanics and everything work just fine and you have nothing to complain about from a technical point of view, but the lack of even the slightest intention to brings something to the table – which is a bib booboo all TM games have – has left a bad taste in my mouth. I did complete the game and I can’t say that I didn’t have at least a bit of fun, but in the end things got really boring and I already felt that I did them all already in a few other games…
Graphics are crisp and colorful with nice effects and a responsive interface, but again there’s nothing to write home about. It’s like all the resources have been spent on the intro cinematic… Including the ones for the soundtrack, which becomes dull and repetitive soon, with the same sound effects repeated over and over again until you turn off your speakers.
I am not impressed with 12 Labours of Hercules IV: Mother Nature. Although it’s not a bad game, it’s not a great one either. Even though it works flawlessly and has the potential to deliver a great experience, its lack of innovation, its lack of depth and, up to a point, even challenge make it a mediocre game. Probably if you’re a time management game fan and you are all for completing stages that get incrementally difficult, you will have fun. But I would actually recommend this game more to those who don’t normally play TM games because this way they won’t feel that they been there, done that already.