Gamezebo got its hands on an early preview of PlayFirst’s upcoming hidden object game Gotcha: Celebrity Secrets, and we’re here to report on what we saw after playing through the first chapter as Gaby, a celebrity blogger who’s out to get the juiciest Hollywood scoops.
As the chapter opens we find Gaby trying to grow Gaby’s Gossip Blog into the most popular celebrity gossip blog in town and beat out her closest competition, an arrogant rival named Dante. The big thing that makes Gotcha different from the other hidden object games we’ve seen before is that you’re primarily searching for people rather than a random assortment of "stuff."
It starts when Gaby gets a hot tip on her cellphone from an anonymous source with a lead on some juicy gossip – in chapter one, for example, she hears that a famous rock star is planning to get married and that his fiance will be at a movie premier that night. So, Gaby must travel to the red carpet and search for leads from people called "informants" who can provide her with more information.
Once we found all the informants, we had to use the clues provided to piece together the identity of the rockstar’s bride-to-be by choosing the correct facial features from clues like "has no facial piercings," "wears red or pink lipstick" and "doesn’t have braces."
Each level in the chapter unfolds in a similar fashion as Gaby tracks down scoops on the best man, the food, the venue, and other wedding details. Although there were a variety of locations to search in, the basic idea is always the same: the scene will be full of a crowd of people and you’ll have to pick out specific informants by looking at cut-outs along the bottom of the screen and finding the match in the crowd. Sometimes you’ll search by the person’s description, such as having to find a man with a "red tie" or a "flower tattoo." In this sense, the gameplay reminded us very much of the Where’s Waldo books.
The mini-games that come after each hidden object search, where Gaby uses the clues she’s received from her informants to piece together the gossip she needs for her next blog entry, were full of variety, from the spot-the-difference puzzle in the caterer’s kitchen to narrow down the wedding menu choices to figuring out the identity of the best man by crossing off different faces in an idea similar to the board game Guess Who?
Gotcha: Celebrity Secrets isn’t timed in the sense that you can take as much time as you want in a level without "losing," but for those who like a timed challenge there’s also an Expert timer bar that does keep track of how long it takes you to complete a level. If you want to challenge yourself you can still try to complete the game as quickly as possible. The game also has a rechargeable hint meter if you get stuck.