Join the Rangers for another truly sensational Vacational Adventure in the Great Outdoors!

Once again you’re teaming up with National Park rangers for more hidden object and puzzle fun in Vacation Adventures: Park Ranger 2.  This is about as direct a follow up as it could be.  That is not necessarily a deterrent however, as the original was finely crafted for a hidden object affair.  In spite of the familiarity with the same park, all new sections and even story (“beware the hot August nights and the notorious fire season”) provide some fresh material.

The graphics retain their attractiveness, highlighting some diverse park locations and new scenery.  Busy yet bright with just subtle animations, they fit quite well for this style of game.  Easy zooming prevents annoyance, although panning across the screen quickly can be slightly choppy.  Unfortunately it sounds as if the same folksy soundtrack has returned.  I was hoping fresh scenes would mean fresh tunes!  Tastes aside, the short looping tracks get repetitive and lack variety.  Overall the musical score falls short, whereas the visuals are strong.

The star system is back for replay encouragement.  In order to get gold you’ll also need to find all wildlife, displayed by silhouettes.  This is mildly more interesting than finding the lost items of park guests, which is how the last game handled these.  It fits the theme better, and provides a break from finding straight items.  Recyclable collecting is also needed for gold stars, offering a bit more difficulty in an otherwise casually challenging game.

Several new mini games inject some freshness.  I found them a bit improved from the last title simply because they seemed more diverse, offering a broader variety with less repeats.  You can still skip any you find lacking – I’m looking at you rotating puzzle pieces.  I should note that I question if all these minor tweaks to the core game are worth the current $9.99 asking price though.  While enjoyable, that’s higher than the both the 3DS original, and the computer versions.  I hope Park Ranger 3 is priced lower.

Overall, I feel this is a quality hidden object game the same as its predecessor.  As a package it offers more than most of its 3DS contemporaries .  If you’re a genre fan and enjoyed the first game, you’ll enjoy this sequel also as it’s more of the same.  Much like returning to a favorite holiday retreat, you’ll find yourself in familiar surroundings yet still managing to have fresh experiences.