App Reviewed on: iPhone 4
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A few months ago we were impressed by The Secret of Grisly Manor, Fire Maple's first foray into the point-and-click adventure genre (surely just touch adventure on iOS?). It was simple but charming, knowing of its storytelling limits but beautifully produced all the same. The Lost City, their second foray, is not all that different to summarize but maybe has an edge on Grisly Manor thanks to the more enchanting location and the excellent way players will have to switch through seasons to make their way through this picturesque Atlantis.
Again, the puzzles require pixel-hunting through the city, checking each room for items that can then be stored in the inventory and used in other rooms. The city slowly opens itself up like something from an Indiana Jones movie, with ornate alcoves, flourishing waterfalls, and prized jewels to be found. Although there isn't much in the way of animation, the detailed photorealistic environments complemented by the soft, relaxing music make it very easy to go through The Lost City in one sitting (two to three hours).
What makes The Lost City stand out is the ability to change the location's season at will. It starts out in Spring, but once a blue heart-shaped stone is found and inserted the slot in the corresponding statue the whole city is suddenly coated in snow and ice. The lake freezes over while the waterfall becomes a huge icicle, and all these changes allow players to make their way to places they couldn't get to in Spring. All four seasons can be brought around, with each one affecting the city in both a superficial and more underlying way. And in its own, understated way it's quite spectacular to see the city undergo these magical changes.
The Lost City doesn't overstay its welcome, doesn't bore with any complicated story, and doesn't cost too much coin to acquire. It may not be the best game to hit iOS this year but it will easily be one of the most recommendable. Let's hope Fire Maple endeavors further into this genre, they have a knack for it.