Hidden Mysteries: Salem Secrets, Witch Trials of 1692 (Nintendo DS) Review

By Adam Riley 21.07.2011 3

Review for Hidden Mysteries: Salem Secrets, Witch Trials of 1692 on Nintendo DS

When is a Hidden Object game not quite a Hidden Object game? When it is more like the classic Myst from days of yore. Gunnar Games has teamed up with the Educational Initiatives Group (the folk who conjured up Escape the Museum) to craft a mysterious tale about witches and curses in Salem, Massachusetts, dating back to 1692 that mixes traditional point-and-click adventuring with the obtuseness of the Myst series, whilst adding a considerable sprinkle of items of find and mini-games to solve. Read on to find out how well Hidden Mysteries: Salem Secrets, Witch Trials of 1692 plays.

Most will see a game called ‘Hidden Mysteries’ and presume it is nothing more than a rudimentary trawl through room after room of camouflaged objects that must be uncovered until a long list is completed. However, Hidden Mysteries: Salem Secrets is more of an old school PC adventure, with the Witch Trials of 1692 definitely having a Myst-style air to it, albeit it with more atmospheric music playing throughout, rather than the deadly silences found within the aged classic.

The player takes the role of Constable Hawthorne, sent by the Governor of Massachusetts to investigate rumours that in Salem there is witchcraft abound. Four young girls have been suffering from an outbreak of mysterious fits and bizarre tantrums, which has led to talk of the girls being "afflicted" by local practitioners of the dark arts. After being abandoned by the fearful carriage driver, the local rural landscape must be traversed alone, with all residents locking themselves away for fear of being fingered for witch-related crimes or even being cursed by the so-called Salem Witch. This leaves the Constable to unravel the mystery by himself, jumping from scene to scene, scouring each area for clues, finding new pathways, collecting key items and information, piecing together objects to create tools, breaking down tough puzzles and riddles, as well as taking part in the odd bout of hidden object fun.

Screenshot for Hidden Mysteries: Salem Secrets, Witch Trials of 1692 on Nintendo DS

If this had indeed been a Hidden Object game alone, the story itself and intrigue surrounding the events in Salem, Massachusetts would probably have been sufficient enough to keep players gripped. As it stands, though, Hidden Mysteries: Salem Secrets is an extremely well-balanced product filled with all sorts of different elements that help to draw you further and further into the world, with a journal constantly updating as the story unfolds that proves to be great reading on its own even after the adventure has been completed.

Navigation around the town may seem trial-and-error led at first since there are no on-screen markers that show where to tap in order to move to another scene, but simply holding down the L button brings up arrows for directional movement or a magnifying glass over areas that can be investigated in more detail. An inventory resides on the top screen and can easily be accessed by tapping the tab found at the upper region of the touch-screen, which then drags the storage space downwards so items can be selected for use in the current vicinity. Everything is perfectly mapped to the stylus and touch-screen, movement around Salem and its fifty different areas is simple and intuitive, the twenty-five-plus hidden objects scenes are up there with the best of the genre, and the clever mini-games and puzzles will definitely have players scratching their heads for the duration of the adventure. Hidden Mysteries: Salem Secrets is the perfect blend of story-driven entertainment with a slew of pleasing puzzles along the way to maintain a high level of engagement and has plenty of suitable atmosphere to set the tone of the tale perfectly.

Screenshot for Hidden Mysteries: Salem Secrets, Witch Trials of 1692 on Nintendo DS

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

Hidden Mysteries: Salem Secrets, Witch Trials of 1692 is a fantastic example of how PC adventure games can be translated across to the Nintendo DS without any real loss in detail or quality. Filled to the brim with an intriguing storyline, plenty of brain-teasing mini-games, enjoyable free-roaming gameplay and hidden object puzzles, this is definitely one for fans of the genre to add to their shopping list.

Developer

Gunnar

Publisher

Avanquest

Genre

Puzzle

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

Comments

This is a pleasant surprise, Adam. Being middle aged, I quite enjoy the odd HOG from Big Fish Games and the like for the PC but playing them on the DS or phone is generally painful. I always hate a review which makes the fact you can't see the objects on a small screen a positive: "Yes it is decent challenge ....". No, that does not make the game a challenge, it makes it unplayable. What we appear to have here is a decent conversion. Finally.

Old Man / Font of all useless knowledge

If you've read my recent reviews of things like Murder in Venice, Real Crimes: Jack the Ripper and Hollywood Files, you'll see that Incan be pretty scathing where necessary, but give real credit to games that actually deserve it, such as Murder in Venice, Crime Lab, Chonicles of Mystery 2 and Vampire Moon.

The great examples found on DS only exacerbate how shoddy the workmanship of some PC-to-DS conversions are

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

UNITE714: Weekly Prayers | Bible Verses
Jessa Dawn Di Apita (guest) 15.02.2013#3

do you have all the dialogues in this game? 

Comment on this article

You can comment as a guest or join the Cubed3 community below: Sign Up for Free Account Login

Preview PostPreview Post Your Name:
Validate your comment
  Enter the letters in the image to validate your comment.
Submit Post

Subscribe to this topic Subscribe to this topic

If you are a registered member and logged in, you can also subscribe to topics by email.
Sign up today for blogs, games collections, reader reviews and much more
Site Feed
Who's Online?
Azuardo, hinchjoie, Ofisil

There are 3 members online at the moment.