App Reviewed on: iPhone 5
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I am totally digging this adventure game resurgence, especially when it yields goofy and creative examples such as City of Secrets 2 Episode 1. Granted, this Monty Python-meets-Saturday morning cartoon has a few flaws. However, none of them keep it from being an enjoyable romp while it lasts.
After saving the city from a mayoral imposter, Moles has been taking it easy. So easy, in fact, that the narrator has decided enough is enough and it’s time for the little shut-in to get some fresh (or at least slightly more fresh) air. After a horrible and in no way prophetic dream, Moles has to puzzle his way out of his apartment and to parts beyond. Naturally this leads to a few misadventures and several interactions with some rather interesting characters. City of Secrets 2 deviates from the adventure game formula a bit by including a handful of mini-games, one of which has a full version available for purchase on the App Store courtesy of Reiner Knizia. For the most part, anyone familiar with Guybrush Threepwood or Roger Wilco should know what to expect and feel right at home.
Besides looking fantastic (I mean seriously fantastic), City of Secrets 2 also does a great job of catering to a diverse assortment of adventurers. Three difficulties are available from the outset that will influence mini-game difficulty, the hint system, and so on. And while I generally don’t like to resort to hints the system can certainly be handy in a pinch, especially when a few of those “I have no idea what the game expects me to do” moments make an appearance. Throw in a relatively clever script riddled with self-referential jokes and an unexpected cameo from a particular Ancient One-turned-fishmonger and it’s a party.
The jokes aren’t always winners, however. Some of them fall flat and others smack of too much effort. They don’t derail the story or anything but they do get in the way from time to time. Especially the ones that go on for a bit too long. But what doesn’t go on for too long is the game itself, which is a shame. Shortly after hitting my stride and really getting into Moles’ shenanigans it just ends. The real weird thing is that it’s not even a cliffhanger; Moles does a few things, falls through a hole, and then it’s “To Be Continued.” I totally get that it’s been planned to span four episodes, but there has to be a better way of closing this particular entry off.
Aside from a few dud jokes, I really enjoyed my time spent playing City of Secrets 2 Episode 1. Its just a shame that it amounted to so little overall time spent. I’m curious to see where Moles will go from here but I hope his next misadventure feels a little more complete.