Something is seriously wrong in this game, and a cynical mole called Moles and a heroic dog aptly named Rex are out to save the day. Logical puzzles are mixed together with loads of illogical puzzles with some far fetched solutions. City of Secrets takes does not take itself seriously, and has loads of pseudo humour. A cynical narrator keeps hammering home points about the illogical solutions needed, and as a seasoned point and click adventurer I am having a blast.
City of Secrets tells a story of betrayal, moles, rats and beetroots. It is quite easy to understand the simple plot, and the ending waiting to reveal itself. This game is not about the story, but rather about the dialogues, monologues and funny narration. The main characters aren`t charismatic when compared to Guybrush Threepwood or Simon the Sorcerer. All the moles are kind of cool though, and quite unusual to feature in a game.
The controls are great with a nice touch interface. To find points to interact with you can press a hint button in the lower left corner. This can either show just the points of interest, or also give you a hind on what to do next. If you want the game to really challenge you the hints need to be turned off in the options. The inventory is one of the easiest most accessible I have ever seen. Items show up at the top of the screen, and can be hidden by touching the inventory button. To combine items just highlight one, and touch another. To use an item with a point of interest just highlight the item, and then touch the point. Easy, and quick interface. In the top right you have a map button to quickly go between the different locations.
There are a couple of mini games you have to complete. Of these a couple demand you to play stealth hide and seek, and one demands you to time your movement within beastly bowels. There is also one that forces you to sort garbage coming down conveyor belts. Tilting moves the different boxes, and it can be quite challenging.
The puzzles in City of Secrets are out there, and I really mean out there. At times I have had no clue what to do at all, and even with the hint system some puzzles have made no sense until solved. For example combining a pipe with seeds, and then water to get a lawnmower to bring a magnet from within the pipe. For those logical for purely logical puzzles this will prove a challenge. There is also a lot of guesswork needed to solve some puzzles, even though you know the solution.
The presentation is outstanding with beautiful hand drawn graphics, nicely animated characters and top notch voice acting. Compared to other games of the genre it excels in presentation. The attention to detail is remarkable. For example Moles keeps talking when having to stand idle for too long. At first these are just small remarks, and idle reminders. After a while he starts telling short anecdotes.
I am baffled how a game of this quality can be sold at less than a dollar. It took me about five hours to beat even with quite a few hints used, and without hints altogether it would have taken me at least eight hours. If you are the least interested in point and click adventures you have probably already bought the game. If you are new to the genre it is a great place to start with an easy to use interface, and spot on hints system. The humour is ironical, cynical but never below the belt. I have chuckled quite a bit at the narrator, but sometimes I miss the childish humour of Hector: The Badge of Carnage. The story is not that deep, but still the game manages to incorporate a lot of characters and locations. City of Secrets gets my warmest recommendation.
City of Secrets $0.99
Seller: Aidem Media Sp. z 0.o.