Developer: G5 Entertainment
Price: FREE
Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPad 2

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★½☆
Playtime Rating: ★★★★☆
Replay Value Rating: ★★★½☆

Overall Rating: ★★★½☆

Deviating from G5 Entertainment’s traditional path when it comes to Hidden Object games, The Secret Society – Hidden Mystery is a rare freemium entry to the genre. It feels quite refreshing too, despite the restrictions placed on it, as is customary for freemium titles.

Following a quest style method of progression, players are offered a series of different ‘rooms’ leading to original scenes, in which they can complete certain Hidden Object style challenges. Complete a scene and experience is gained, adding a sense of purpose and achievement. By doing so, further sections are unlocked with other objectives and puzzles to solve.

It’s a nice mechanic and one that feels quickly rewarding. A constant experience bar demonstrates the progress of the player, along with a freemium style energy bar which dictates how much can be played before the player must wait for it to restore itself. Crystals can be bought with real money to speed things up, but there’s no real need to do this, providing the player has some level of patience.

Issues do emerge, admittedly. For instance, the scenes available are frequently re-used which can get repetitive after a time. The early stages only involve finding a few objects at a time, which is a little too easy for Hidden Object fans. They also don’t move around the scene sufficiently enough, making it easy to find them at a later juncture in the game.

The Secret Society – Hidden Mystery does well to mask these issues, though, by constantly trickling that all important sense of achievement towards the player. Every stage completed feels as if the player has moved forward in the game with bits of the story gradually unfolding. Other puzzles also emerge, such as block and pipe puzzles which tax the brain slightly more so than spotting relevant objects.

For a Hidden Object game, The Secret Society – Hidden Mystery lacks significant challenge which is a shame. As a new concept though, I liked it. That freemium element changes things around, while still remaining enjoyable. It also means it’s free which, amongst the expensive world of Hidden Object titles, is quite good going for an attractive looking title such as this. A few tweaks and a splash more imagination would have made it all the better, but it’s still worth any fan’s time.

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