Secrets of the Seas: Flying Dutchman is a pleasant voyage, despite all the ghosts and ghouls.
Secrets of the Seas: Flying Dutchman may look like your average tale of ghostly pirates on the high seas, but its great use of color makes the game very visually appealing, and its linear, laid back challenge will appeal to those looking for more casual entertainment than difficulty. Can you help the trapped souls on the Flying Dutchman before you are lost forever among them?
Flying Dutchman sees you entering into the world of tall tales and myths surrounding the Flying Dutchman, the captain of a ghost ship that docks once every seven years to look for new crew on its eternal voyage. Luring young men in with the promise of wealth, the Dutchman’s crew has just grown larger as he has captured one of your best friends. Beating the Dutchman at his own (dice) game, you’ll gain access to the ship where you can work to free those aboard the ship, both living and dead.
Gameplay here is a fairly standard mix of hidden object scenes (find items on a list) and simple puzzles. Being a rather linear experience, you’ll tend to only have one or two tasks ever available to you at one time, as you may use a key to unlock a treasure chest, only to use the contents within to complete a new step or puzzle and so on. This eliminates a lot of the challenge in relation to more free-roaming games, but it also provides a nice flow as you’ll typically always know what to do next, without relying on the in-game hint system (that’s definitely a good thing, as it charges rather slowly).
Puzzles are varied but predictable, asking you to untangle ropes attached to nails, swap or rotate tile pieces to form a complete picture and so on. These puzzles are missing pieces, so you’ll spend just as much time finding the lost pieces to actually solving the puzzles as you will collecting pearls to the Dutchman’s prized necklace, which unlocks details about the Dutchman myth along the way.
There’s a lot of backtracking throughout the game’s many chapters, but as most locations are rather limited in the amount of scenes they contain, this never becomes too out of hand. Rather, it’s almost an enjoyable experience, as the graphics are very appealing, mixing the dark shadows and pale hues normally associated with creepy ghost tales with lovely pops of color – green jewels in a trinket box, red chili peppers hanging up to dry, and so on. This use of color also makes the hidden object scenes much easier to complete, as items like butterflies may be bright blue and stand out against the gray or wooden background of a building, as one example.
The soundtrack here isn’t as impressive as the graphical theme, but it comes with the now standard music that was clearly inspired by the modern Pirates of the Caribbean films and it works decently enough. Overall, the entire experience is based on ghost tales that we’ve seen time and time again, but the gameplay is solid and only a few rare click recognition issues can really harm the experience (that is, you may click on an item, but it takes two or three clicks for the game to actually register that you’ve done so).
If you’re ready to take yet another trip out onto the high seas to save the lost souls of pirates, and perhaps even your own along the way, then Secrets of the Seas: Flying Dutchman is a fairly solid outing allowing you to do just that. It’s based on a clichéd premise, but it’s also an entertaining experience, which is really all we can ask for.