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City of Secrets

For:   Also on: AndroidiPhoneiPad
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No secrets here

Product: City of Secrets | Developer: aideMMedia | Publisher: aideMMedia | Format: Android | Genre: Adventure | Players: 1 | File size: 341MB | Version: Europe
City of Secrets Android, thumbnail 1
Point-and-click adventure has always been a niche genre in the gaming fraternity.

These games are essentially stories with artificial barriers. Rather than flipping through each scene like a picture book, you have bothersome puzzles that force you to use that grey thing in your skull.

Finding the right balance between puzzle play and entertaining exposition is tough and most adventure games lean toward one or the other. City of Secrets leans toward neither, instead struggling to hold your attention at all.

Deeper underground

You play talking animal duo Rex and Moles as they journey into a mysterious city in the hunt for a fishing hook. Along the way you take part in a popular uprising, stage a prison break, and get a part-time job as a rubbish sorter among other things - it’s that kind of adventure.

Everything in the game is handled via taps of the screen - talking to non-player characters, using items, picking up objects, and interacting with various elements. It's standard adventure gaming fare handled without complaint.

The graphics are well done, with most locations packing quite a bit of incidental detail and managing to inject each scene with a good deal of character. Even if the gameplay leaves something to be desired, the presentation at least holds its own against the best in the genre.

Come unstuck

The puzzles are hit-and-miss, with the majority sadly falling into the latter category over the course of the game.

As all-too-often happens in the genre, the puzzles don't make much sense. Worse still, you often feel like you're losing your mind when searching for key items. You can scour an environment for an object only to have it suddenly appear in a spot you've searched a dozen times.

Thankfully, the game has a built-in walkthrough that masquerades as tips, revealing exactly where and what you have to do to progress. Unfortunately, it doesn't help when faced with the mini-games - tilting to sort rubbish, tapping to harvest sweet potatoes - that aren't just uninspired, but drawn-out too.

Humour miner

Strip away the puzzles and you’re left with a kooky story that fails to hit the right notes. Sense of humour is always a matter of taste, but City of Secrets makes it less of a subjective issue thanks to half-hearted character design and terrible voice acting.

The actors sound like friends of the programmers, or the programmers themselves - delivering their lines without any sense of timing. It also doesn’t help that there appears to be all of five cast members doing all the roles that frankly lack any form of character traits.

Even with the voice acting off (which also removes all the sound effects, annoyingly), the script is overwritten and cumbersome, spending too long trying to scrape humour from asides and not enough constructing or building them up to any form of resolution.

Despite the presentation, controls, and hints having been designed to be as welcoming as possible, it’s a shame that City of Secrets itself is boring.
City of Secrets
Reviewer photo
Will Wilson | 19 April 2011
City of Secrets is attractive and welcoming to newcomers, but the plodding story, forgettable characters, weak puzzles, and atrocious voice-acting ensure it's destined to stay a secret
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