Cubed3 has somewhat of a penchant for Hidden Object games, Match-3 puzzle titles and adventures that combine all manner of mini-games together. However, being somewhat experts in the field of what are deemed 'casual games' that most sites do not want to cover means that when a stinker floats to the surface, it really is quite easy to identify it. Welcome to the tragedy that is Secrets of the Titanic: 1912-2012 on Nintendo DS, a game that sinks beneath even the average Murder on the Titanic on 3DS from last year.
The key to a great Hidden Object game is that the items are cleverly obscured, being mixed carefully into the surroundings to make for an intriguing challenge. Placing a bunch of random objects all over the place and encouraging random tapping-fests is not the best way to keep the attention of any player, especially when the constant tapping is not even penalised in any form. Secrets of the Titanic: 1912-2012 uses the anniversary of the sinking of the epic cruise liner as an excuse to drape a flimsy tale of time travel over the top of a weak 'Seek and Find' gameplay scenario where there are no thrills to be had whatsoever.
The saving grace of Secrets of the Titanic is that the items that must be collected can only be tapped on with the stylus when they appear on the actual collection itinerary, unlike some even worse examples that allow for constant tapping of anything, anywhere until the next scene pops up (*looks sharply at Mystery Stories: Curse of the Ancient Spirits*). Avanquest UK has brought over some very impressive entries in the puzzle genres that the casual audience lap up so merrily, with the DS being the recipient of plenty of strong PC ports over the years. However, unfortunately, Secrets of the Titanic washes up ashore and its lovely character art and beautifully haunting music cannot save it from drowning in mediocrity.
Helping to break up the mundane item hunting sections are the usual batch of general puzzle mini-games to pass the time. Fancy a little bit of Match-3 goodness? Well, remove the 'goodness' part and your wish will come true. How about some awkward sliding challenges where the stylus movements are not always accurately picked up? Or, get this, take part in a word search! Yes, it does not get much better than that. There are some amazing examples of these type of adventures with a conglomeration of puzzles included, such as 2012's Azada on Nintendo 3DS, or even some of Avanquest's own published games on DS, like Hidden Mysteries: Salem Secrets, Witch Trials of 1692. Sadly, other than gathering together some interesting information about the Titanic's history, Secrets of the Titanic: 1912-2012 proves to just be a cheap cash-in for the sake of getting something out for the anniversary of the tragic event.
Tapping on the screen to find objects feels broken, with the screen sliding around when attempting to tap on one specific item. Finding everything is too easy as well, with no real effort put into mixing objects with the environments. Also, the mini-games are far too basic in nature and sometimes do not respond properly. Poor all round.
Some of the character portraits are quite endearing indeed, giving off a false air of quality to this game on the whole.
The music is definitely one of the saving graces in Secrets of the Titanic, with some lovely tunes playing throughout.
There are ten mini-games on top of the stacks of boring items to find. This is nowhere near the level Hidden Objects games should be at nowadays given the strong competition and experience gained from seeing other entries stumble over the same issues.
There are worse games in this genre that have passed through the Cubed3 Halls over the years, but Secrets of the Titanic: 1912-2012 sinks lower than them purely because the development team definitely should have known better by now. Flaws from early games in the genre still appear that ruin the whole adventure, making the interesting details of the Titanic and great soundtrack almost totally meaningless. Steer clear of this disaster!