Secrets of Great Art is a lot like a movie sequel: it’s a formulaic yet somewhat entertaining getaway but by no means is it a groundbreaking experience.
Similar to the dozens of other “seek-and-find” puzzle games on the market, such as the Mystery Case Files adventures, this Big Fish Games title challenges players to study a scene cluttered with objects, and you must find all the items listed along the side of the screen before the timer runs out.
For example, you might be asked to scour the scene to find and click on a knife, banana, trophy, spatula, coin, reptile, cheese and mask. Clicking on incorrect items multiple times gives players a time penalty, such as shaving off 30 seconds from the countdown clock.
As the name suggests, however, Secrets of Great Art introduces a mysterious story to unlock – with chapter entries following every level – and masterpiece paintings on which to find the hidden items. With the former, you’re told at the start of the game about a character named Alex Johnson, who has lost his memory. By finding hidden objects on classic paintings, Alex can piece together who he is and why he’s here, and uncovers a mystery tied to the paintings. At the start of each painting, gamers can read the name of work and who the painter is. Enjoyable music plays while you find all the items listed along the left-hand side.
In total, the game features 60 levels to play though, including bonus rounds every so often, which shows players two near-identical paintings, and you must click on all the differences between the two – such as one of the two statues that might be missing a crown. Other “seek-and-find” games also have this kind of “spot-the-differences” mini-games, too.
If you need some help, click the Hint button to expose an area of the painting you should pay attention to. You may have up to three hints available to you per puzzle.
But even with the story and introduction of real paintings, Secrets of Great Art is basically like every other seek-and-find game. But the lack of ingenuity isn’t the only issue: in one particular painting about a third of the way into the game, the word “flower” was one of the items I was supposed to look for – problem is, there were four flowers in the scene. After clicking some of the “incorrect” ones I was penalized by removing time off the clock. Sigh.
The game only has one mode, too, which hurt’s its replayability.
Secrets of Great Art is at best an average game – but fans of the genre (or art lovers) should at least download and play the trial version to see if they enjoy it enough to unlock its mystery.