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The Secret Tree of Life

For: DS   Also on: DSi
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Plant this into your Nintendo DS

Product: Chronicles of Mystery: The Secret Tree of Life | Publisher: City Interactive | Format: DS | Genre: Adventure, Casual | Players: 1 | Version: Europe
Chronicles of Mystery: The Secret Tree of Life DS, thumbnail 1
As far as names go, Chronicles of Mystery: The Secret Tree of Life features enough generic buzzwords that any gamer would turn their nose up at the idea of giving it a play.

Which is a shame, as The Secret Tree of Life is a surprisingly entertaining diamond in the rough.

A mix of hidden object gameplay and tricky puzzles, along with some great uses of the Nintendo DS and DSi capabilities, this is one adventure that will keep you captivated throughout.

Logical choice

The story follows Sylvie Leroux, a skilled archaelogist who accidentally stumbles into the path of an ancient cult while checking out some old artefacts.

Leroux must navigate each area, finding objects to help her progress and solving challenging puzzles to unlock the path and uncover mysteries.

There's a great mix of hidden object challenges and logic puzzles, woven together with a series of intertwined locations and settings.

With each new area you'll need to find all the objects listed at the bottom of the screen, and then work out what needs to be solved.

The puzzles are genuinely tricky, and there's plenty of variety, while a time limit keeps proceedings tense.

Complete a puzzle quickly and efficently and you'll be rewarded with Perfect Points and hidden extras.

Let's twist again

The storyline is also full of twists and turns, with the plot taking you all over the world and through 70 different locations.

Leroux's snappy banter with both friends and foes alike gives the game plenty of charisma, and we enjoyed following along with the story just as much as we enjoyed solving the puzzles.

There's a great deal of personality on display, with a mixture of well thought-out dialogue, pleasant backdrops, and intriguing cut-scenes giving the game a real edge.

Some great uses of the Nintendo DS and DSi capabilities also help The Tree of Life stand out from the crowd.

You'll be using the touchscreen a great deal, and implementing the microphone every now and again. There are even some puzzles that are exclusive to the DSi, using the camera.

Extra extra

Once the main campaign is out of the way, there are plenty of extras to have a bash with.

Challenges take you back to puzzles previously featured in the main game, but with even more difficult standards. Hidden treasures also throw you into past locations, and ask you to find even more items scattered around.

Secret chambers are your awards, providing clues on how to achieve them in the main game, such as gaining a certain number of Perfect Points, or using up clues.

The Tree of Life is highly polished, but it's not a thrill a minute and won't suit everybody.

The hidden object sections in particular can feel a little dull, especially later on in the game. Fortunately, these don't usually last very long, and give way to the logic puzzles pretty quickly.

It's also a little on the short side, taking around three to four hours to blast your way through, although with the added extras it's possible that you'll get a decent amount of play out of it.

While it's no blockbuster, The Secret Tree of Life is a great adventure romp, with enjoyable puzzles to solve and a story full of twists. 
The Secret Tree of Life
Reviewer photo
Mike Rose | 3 June 2011
The Secret Tree of Life will give your brain a real workout, with challenging puzzles and plenty of intrigue
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