Developer: Pocket Gems
Price: Free
Version Reviewed: 1.12
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 5

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★☆
Game Controls Rating: ★★★☆☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★½☆☆
Replay Value Rating: ★★★☆☆

Overall Rating: ★★★☆☆

Secret Passages: Hidden Objects is a hidden object finding game just like the I SPY series of books from Scholastic. While the main activity is essentially the same as the book series, this game is much more sophisticated with a storyline and intricate game mechanics like a mini-map and resources. However, the numerous additions to the game make it complex and, at times, overwhelming and frustrating.

The main goal in Secret Passages: Hidden Objects is to find objects in static pictures of different locations. Players move around a map of different areas. Once they choose to enter a certain place, the game displays pictures of what the inner area looks like. Each picture has between two and six objects that players have to identify and tap, and some are hidden very well.

IMG_1539Considering Secret Passages: Hidden Objects is all about finding hidden objects, it is surprisingly complex. I jumped right in and just wanted to search for the objects, but to really excel at the game, it requires reading all of the instructions. I found myself wanting to reread explanations, but couldn’t figure out how to do so. There isn’t a main menu or an instructions page, so I ended up having to reinstall the game to read through them again.

There are multiple types of resources players need to collect, like gold coins, gems, and shovels. Unlocking a new location costs gold coins and entering a location costs energy. A lot of time is spent just trying to accumulate enough energy, coins, gems, shovels, and keys to get something done. I like that there is more to the game than just finding objects in pictures, but for a hidden object game, it can be awfully complex and cumbersome.

The main map looks like one from a real-time strategy game, with the zoomed-out overhead point of view. O did not like that Secret Passages: Hidden Objects immediately sends a push notification when exiting the game, enticing players to resume the game.

Secret Passages: Hidden Objects is an interesting and intricate game. It’s first and foremost a hidden object game, but all of the other layers make it more interesting, yet complex. Unfortunately, the process of adding more to this game ends up making things just a bit too cumbersome.

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