GDC 2013: Secret Castle – Immersed In A Hidden World

4.0 Overall Score
Gameplay: 4/5
Design: 4.5/5
Duration: 3.5/5

Brand new mechanic | Great 3D design | Immersive experience | Intriguing storyline

On the short side | Leaves you wanting more | Object selection is a bit tedious

GDC is a great time to discover upcoming games, but there are also instances of learning about brand new games. Secret Castle launched last Thursday during GDC, and we got to meet the developers briefly to give us a heads up what it was about. It’s a hidden object adventure game that is unlike any you have played before with a brand new game mechanic. Secret Castle offers 3D rooms to explore for the hidden objects, and you can shift the perspective by tilting your iOS device. It’s innovative, and intuitive to create a brand new way to search for hidden objects.

There are over a hundred hidden objects to find, and the developers have truly hidden them since they have layers to hide objects behind. Changing your angle can reveal an item you wouldn’t have seen otherwise, and it’s like you’re actually diving into a 3D pop-up book scene. The rooms also feature interactive elements that slide, and spin with the potential to reveal other objects. The neatest aspect is some items are split in two, and you need to shift the perspective so that the two halves align to collect the object. The tilt controls are so smooth, and there’s the ability to double tap with two fingers to freeze the frame to lock in the alignment to collect a given object.

The gameplay is superb, and it’s presented through a surprisingly intricate storyline that revolves around a boy, Jonas, sleeping in a new house left to his family by his eccentric aunt. Jonas enters into a secret castle when he falls asleep in his new room, and then discovers a mystery to unravel. He meets a new friend Ava, and together they keep exploring new rooms, and each hidden object you find helps to progress the story. There are ten chapters all presented with such great artwork, and a storyline that will keep you engaged to the finish. The one problem with Secret Castle is that the end does come relatively quickly, kind of like Fetch, but even shorter. The style is so great that you’ll want more as soon as you finish.

Secret Castle (Free, Universal / $2.99 Full Game Unlock IAP) is such an immersive experience from the finely crafted 3D hidden object exploration to the intricate storyline making it a should buy for the $3 full game cost.


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