You’re on the trail of treasure in the latest in the Amazing Adventures series of hidden object games. The Caribbean Secret will take you into the jungle, under the ocean, to romantic hideaways and glorious vistas as you follow the clues that will lead you first to the bits of a treasure map, and finally to the booty itself.
Each location presents you with a list of ten items to find and your first task will be figuring out the objects the list is describing. Though sometimes you’ll be told flat-out that you need to find pliers or a coffee cup, more often you’ll be directed to search for a "finder of nuts," or "gun with wheels." It’s a fun way to add a bit of challenge into the mix, as is the special object you must find in each scene. In each level, you must complete an action such as "light the lantern" or "complete the deck" by finding a particular object in the scene and moving it to the appropriate place. To "fix the candelabra," you might pick up a candle and put it back in its holder, for example.
Each environment is simply stunning, bursting with color and detail. Objects are, thankfully, sized to make them visible, but well concealed by taking advantage of a location’s shadows, shapes, and colors. You won’t have to squint to try and see a minute stogie lurking in a corner, but you will have to look carefully to realize that the palm tree out the window is more than what it appears to be. If you get stuck, you can use a rechargeable hint, but hold off as long as you can; finishing a scene without any help nets you a fat 15,000 point bonus.
Each of the game’s 25 locations also hides two unique skulls. Finding all 50 skulls unlocks Caribbean Secret‘s extra game modes – Unlimited Seek and Find and a Match-3 Bonus Game. Because you never know quite what they’re going to look like, finding the skulls can be a bit tricky, but you visit each location more than once, so you’ll have plenty of chances to track them all down. The unlockable modes are enjoyable time-wasters, though they feel somewhat aimless when compared with the well-constructed goals of the main game.
After you finish each hidden object sequence, you’ll have to solve one of a variety of puzzles to reveal your next location. There are straight-up jigsaw puzzles, find-the-differences, a twist (literally) on jigsaws that has you reassembling an image by rotating pieces already in place, and pictures you must complete by returning objects to their rightful spots. The puzzles rotate, so you don’t get too tired of them, but they’re not skippable either; if you don’t enjoy a particular kind of puzzle, you’ve got no choice but to slog your way through it.
The Amazing Adventure games have all been excellent, and Caribbean Secret is no exception. From the music to the visuals, everything has been polished to perfection. The setting isn’t exactly hard on the eyes, either – if you’re going to go poking around the landscape, it may as well be the gorgeous landscape of tropical islands. And be ready to spend plenty of time there, because even without the unlockable game modes, Caribbean Secret is a large game. Amazing Adventures: The Caribbean Secret is the yardstick by which the hidden object genre should measure itself. It gets absolutely everything right. Treat yourself and play this game.