Casual gamers in search of a atmospheric adventure to curl up to this fall should will find plenty of game-play buried in Neptune’s Secret, a new seek-and-find game that differentiates itself from many others in this genre with a tightly integrated story, fun puzzles you must solve and attractive graphics that nicely fit this epic tale.
At the start of the game you’ll read a bit about Greek mythology, such as Zeus attempting to strike peace between gods and monsters, and Neptune’s wrath by sinking the city of Atlantis before being turned to stone by a vengeful Zeus. Or so the story is told in this game. Fast-forward a few thousand years and we have a hip 21st century girl, Hannah, who is on a daring quest to uncover all the secrets of this lost civilization and the meaning behind a mysterious amulet allegedly handed down since the age of Greek gods. Every few levels or so you’ll be treated to a comic book-like story sequence that follows Hannah on her journey and other characters who come into play.
The game-play, however, will be somewhat familiar to seek-and-find fans – you know, those “Where’s Waldo”-like games where you’re given a list of items to find and must scour a busy scene and click on the correct objects. This is the case with Neptune’s Secret but with a couple of exceptions. First of all, all the items you need to find are directly tied to the scene and story and not some random item (in other seek-and-find games its perfectly normal to be asked to find a banana, lion and voodoo doll in someone’s bedroom!). This game will have you looking for underwater gear, ancient weapons and tools to help along.
Secondly, instead of a list of the items to find you’re presented with a silhouette of it, such as a scuba suit, goggles, flippers and oxygen tanks. You might think this makes it easier to spot the items than its associated word, but remember the size might be off or it might be upside-down or partially obscured by another object. Thirdly, there is no timer in this game, so it alleviates some of the pressure found in other seek-and-find games.
A nice touch in Neptune’s Secret is the puzzles you need to solve inside the scene to keep going. For example, in an underwater location you’re asked to find pieces of a knife and a sharpening wheel; when you’ve collected these items you must drag and drop the wheel on a stone that holds it in place and then drag the knife over to sharpen it, which can then be used to cut through some tough seaweed. In another level you must find 10 swords or 10 tiny map pieces (which can be tricky to find). You get the idea.
You can also find gems hidden on the screen, which go into a special amulet used for Hints. The only caveat is you can only add a gem to the amulet if you don’t already have that particular color. Hints are handy if you need some help to find a well-hidden object (unlike some seek-and-find games, you must find everything to keep playing in Neptune’s Secret). If you click on the wrong spots too many times, Hannah’s mask blurs up as a temporary penalty. In total, the game has 75 levels.
Whether you’re a sucker for a good story or a lover of seek-and-find puzzlers and want a fresh take on a popular genre, Neptune’s Secret looks to be a game that covers all the bases. But of course, you – our valued Gamezebo reader – will be the first to know our official score when we get our hands on the final version.