Game Review: City of Secrets
Release: April 12, 2011
Developer: Aidem Media Sp. z o.o.
Rating: (Age) 4+
Size: 263 MB
Aidem Media delivers a curious mix of wow and so-so to iPhone in the adventure/puzzle game “City of Secrets.”
Who knew moles had so much going on? The character players will guide through “City of Secrets” is an unassuming fellow named Mr. Moles, on (at first) a relatively simple mission to rescue his buddy Rex, who has fallen into a hole in the ground. But Mr. Moles runs into a vast underground conspiracy which he has to resolve before he can rescue his friend. There’s a little social commentary here, in the form of criticism of bureaucracy, but however far underground “City of Secrets” takes place, it doesn’t run very deep. In traditional adventure game style, you’ll have to manage a series of puzzles and collect various clues along the way (as well as various helpful objects) and talk to the locals to make sense of the mystery.
Mr. Moles trundles along through the game chatting for the most part, so don’t anticipate getting any thumb cramps from working the controls of this game. It’s a classic point-and-click adventure converted to just plain tapping for the touch screen.
There’s a lot to love about this game, and there’s plenty that got on my nerves too. Good news first: it’s really a beautiful little game, with three dimensional characters interacting in a well-designed, colorful two-dimensional environment. Presumably the 3D is what makes the game load so slowly, but it’s worth it, with the characters reminiscent of something you might see in a Pixar film. There are also complete voiceovers for each bit of animated dialogue, which is a nice touch for an iOS app. And this isn’t a crippled version of an adventure game smashed down to AppStore size, either; “City of Secrets” is a fully featured game for the tiny screen. Now, on to the bad news. Some of the puzzles are a little on the ridiculous side, not because they’re too difficult, but because the clues just really aren’t sufficient for figuring them out. There’s a hint button to help you out, but it ought to be called a walkthrough button, because it pretty much just shows you what to do. The storyline is fun, but the dialogue is awful at some points. It feels like Aidem worked a little too hard in too much of a hurry to cram as much zany repartee into the game as possible, and it feels terribly forced.
The gorgeous graphics and the storyline make me want to love this game. The voiceovers, though not perfectly done, are a nice touch as far as gameplay audio are concerned, but again we get a glimmer of low budget rush with audio—all the female characters sound exactly alike, and it’s clear there aren’t too many guys (and they don’t have much range) on the voice cast either.
What improvements can be done: The game loads too slowly and some parts feel rushed like the dialogue and puzzles. I think the developers should of focused more on the gameplay!
Jimmy’s final say: But at $0.99[iTunes Link], the complaints are moot unless they make the game unplayable for you. They didn’t for me; it’s still a fun little game with an engaging story.
Buy – only if you like cute puzzle games.