What might be lurking under Mr Moles’s basement? Join him and his good friend, a dog named Rex, in an underground adventure that takes you through the City of Secrets HD by Aidem Media. Poco Pane needs their help—and thus your help—to save the entire city from a revolution gone awry. You’ll have to tap your way around to direct Mr Moles and Rex in solving various challenging puzzles as they go up against some hostile characters.
City of Secrets HD is a stunning point-and-click adventure for the iPad that comes loaded with not just the gorgeous graphics and animation but also a good dose of humor. The story begins when Mr Moles is trying to fish through an icy hole in the ground … and loses the magnet he had attached to the end of his fishing line. It’s not clear what exactly he was trying to fish. Anyhow, to retrieve the magnet, he sends Rex to his basement to find a metal fishing hook.
In this game, you’ll get to alternate between controlling Rex and Mr Moles. First, you’ll help Rex obtain the fishing hook, and once that’s done, you’ll step into the shoes of Mr Moles to hunt for Rex, who has mysteriously vanished, having tumbled through a large hole in the basement floor. This is how Mr Moles discovers Poco Pane, an underground city of moles. There, Rex has landed in the city prison. And while Mr Moles endeavors to save his friend, he’s roped deeper into this tale of revolution, deceit, and cunning.
City of Secrets is utterly impressive with its polished presentation, fluid 3D animations, and full voiceovers. The characters are well differentiated, with each speaking in varied styles and accents. Most important, the story around which everything revolves is entertaining enough that you’ll probably want to press on, all the way through the game’s five episodes. If at any time you get stuck, you can tap a red light bulb to view the hints, which will give you general (or sometimes very specific) directions as to what to do next. Of course, there’ll be puzzles you’ll just have to figure out through your own ingenuity or trial and error. For instance, you’ll have to navigate through an underground maze of tunnels to gather sweet potatoes and discover the secret combination to unlocking a chute. Many of these puzzles serve as mini-games that prevent the overall game from ever becoming monotonous. One of the earliest mini-games will have you sorting trash by tilting your device; while simple, it was a fresh change from the tap-based gameplay, and it was a little disappointing that there was no way to go back and play it all over again (without restarting the entire game).
The general game controls are simple. You tap wherever you want Rex or Mr Moles to walk, and if they can’t go directly there, they’ll shake their head and hands. You will also be provided a map of Poco Pane, which you can use to instantly travel to any areas that have been marked on the map. Objects may be inspected, picked up, and manipulated through single taps. You can use objects within your inventory by selecting the item and then tapping whichever spot you want to use it on. You may also combine two items within your possession by tapping on both their images.
There aren’t very many games I finish due to the great number of titles that are continually released for the iOS. However, with City of Secrets HD, I was compelled to play all the way to the end (but with the time-saving hints). This very attractive game feels like an interactive animation that is as fun to watch as it is to puzzle through. Humor is generously woven into the fabric of the game, within the early narration, the hints, the dialogue, and various situations. The one thing the game currently lacks is fast app switching. Other than this, I can’t think of anything much to complain about, only praise.
Stay on for the game’s ending credits.
Despite the many challenging puzzles, City of Secrets is not so impossibly hard that you’ll find yourself at a total loss as to what to do. Persevere, and you’ll be rewarded. At the same time, those who desire a greater challenge can just play the game without any hints. The city of Secrets HD is highly recommended to fans of point-and-click adventures. You can get the game now from the App Store at $4.99.