Samantha Swift and the Hidden Roses of Athena (Nintendo DS) Review

By Adam Riley 06.12.2010

Review for Samantha Swift and the Hidden Roses of Athena on Nintendo DS

It should be noted that whilst Samantha Swift and the Hidden Roses of Athena is the first Nintendo DS iteration of the Hidden Object series, Ms. Swift’s adventures have predominantly been on the PC, with numerous games from developer MumboJumbo, such as Samantha Swift and the Fountains of Fate, Samantha Swift and the Golden Touch, and Samantha Swift and the Mystery from Atlantis. In fact, Hidden Roses of Athena originally appeared on the PC as well, but has now been scaled down for Nintendo’s ever-popular DS platform. Cubed3 takes a closer look to see how it shapes up.

For those that have not heard of Samantha Swift, the story is based around an archaeologist that travels around the world finding all sorts of exciting treasures and artefacts. In this particular outing, Samantha Swift and the Hidden Roses of Athena, the intrepid explorer sets off on a perilous journey to uncover the six roses of Athena. In order to do this, she must travel around the world, finding a multitude of items dotted around the locations visited.

Rather than merely picking out random objects that bear absolutely no relevance to proceedings, as in other games of this ilk, MumboJumbo has carefully attempted to integrate the process of ‘seeking and finding’ into the main storyline and ensure most of your findings serve a greater purpose. Each time Samantha (or her cohort, Adam Woodson, at certain points later on) arrives at a new area, the player is given a list to sift through, albeit a small one at first so as to not be too overwhelming, and then when that initial objective has been completed, another batch appears to work through. Sounds simple, right?

Screenshot for Samantha Swift and the Hidden Roses of Athena on Nintendo DS

Well, the development team has attempted to add some spice to lure fans of the genre to pick Hidden Roses of Athena up over the wealth of other, perhaps more run-of-the-mill, options on the market today. Once all of the normal items have been uncovered, with certain ones being stored in the inventory as tools, a bunch of ‘secret’ objects become available to find, and can only be dislodged, dusted down, caught, triggered, and so on, using said pieces of equipment from the ‘Tools’ menu (players can easily switch between the item list and tools menu by tapping the appropriate icon in the bottom-left of the touch-screen). These enigmatic articles are identified both by being written in blue text on your list, as well as having a blue outline and cogs over the point of their location. Using the tools is straightforward enough, tapping and dragging whichever implement or piece of apparatus you feel will work from the lower bar towards the on-screen cogs, and to help make matters even more simple, if the chosen contraption will not suffice, it turns red to inform you of such (with no penalty incurred), making it quite easy to find what does and does not work. In fact, ‘simplicity’ and ‘lack of difficulty’ are themes that run deep in Samantha Swift and the Hidden Roses of Athena, and the game on the whole definitely comes across as an entry-level edition or even one aimed at younger children.

Screenshot for Samantha Swift and the Hidden Roses of Athena on Nintendo DS

The hint system, whereby a bolt of lightning shoots towards a chosen item from the list, does not inflict any negative consequence upon the player, meaning it can be used repeatedly, and given the lack of time limit or running points total that could consequently be decreased by overuse, there is nothing other than sheer will power to prevent making use of it over and over again, or even tapping randomly around the screen regularly to ‘accidentally’ find items, as opposed to scouring every inch of a stage to discover them. This turns out to be a real shame since there are many ideas in Hidden Roses of Athena that are quite ingenious, yet are unfortunately wasted by the ease of the game. The fact that everything can be polished off by a semi-experienced gamer in little over two or three hours means that recommending this to anyone other than the most amateur of gamer or younger child is not possible, especially given the price involved in purchasing it.

In Samantha Swift’s favour there is the reality that many ‘Hidden Object’ releases suffer due to item names not being apparent enough either due to misunderstandings in terminology used or words that the general populace most likely will not actually know, yet in Hidden Roses of Athena you can tap on the name of an object in the list and a silhouette of it appears in the lower-screen’s radar. Additionally, certain places require Samantha and Adam to go from one room to another, collecting specific items in each that can be used in another. Also, there is some smart integration of puzzles, with certain sections of an area being highlighted in green, meaning that they can be zoomed into to take a stab at solving the conundrum blocking your progress. More often than not, objects found in nearby rooms can be thrown into the mix in order to help reach the solution.

Screenshot for Samantha Swift and the Hidden Roses of Athena on Nintendo DS

Along the way, whilst trying to retrieve the Sceptre of Zeus for the Museum of Lost Secrets, there will be times when the daring protagonist must beat the nefarious Ravena Styker to the punch and grab certain treasures that are then put on display in the museum (accessed from the title screen). However, even with this added extra, there is no real reason to go back to Samantha Swift and the Hidden Roses of Athena after its quick completion. Clear visuals, a pleasant soundtrack, clever puzzles, great integration of items into the storyline, and various other impressive included features make the title a very promising prospect for future iterations of Samantha Swift on DS, but this particular release is sadly too easy to complete, lacks the draw to replay after the credits have rolled, and ultimately pales into comparison when facing off against the likes of City Interactive’s Vampire Moon: The Mystery of the Hidden Sun.

Screenshot for Samantha Swift and the Hidden Roses of Athena on Nintendo DS

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 5 out of 10


Whilst Samantha Swift and the Hidden Roses of Athena is brimming with impressive ideas, clever puzzles and great item-story integration, unfortunately it lets itself down considerably by being far too easy and offering no reason to replay the adventure. Hopefully the positives from this outing can be taken and developed for a sequel.









C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  5/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  10/10 (1 Votes)

European release date TBA   North America release date Out now   Japan release date TBA   Australian release date TBA   


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