iPad Game Review: Empress Of The Deep: The Darkest Secret HD
Reviewed by Tom Slayton
Empress of the Deep (EOTD) is a hidden object/puzzle adventure game from Big Fish Games. In it, you are tasked with solving a mystery by visiting various static locations. Movement between these images is accomplished by tapping the screen in the general direction you wish to move, such as through a doorway, or down a path. Navigation is simple and straightforward, and will not require you the use of an in-game map, nor will you need to create one of your own. At each scene, you will either be searching for hidden objects or solving one of the game?s many puzzles.
As these games go, EOTD is pretty straightforward; this is both good and bad. The upside is that even new gamers can jump right in and start tapping away. In fact, the tried and true nature of this particular title, coupled with a non-spooky storyline means that even youngsters will be interested in playing it. The downside is that it really brings nothing new to the table. While some games of this type differentiate themselves by a rich story, slick interface, unusually clever puzzles, or a cool, signature gimmick, EOTD doesn?t really excel at any of these. Don?t get me wrong, it?s a solid hidden object adventure; it?s just not a standout hidden object adventure.
The various locations are beautifully drawn; however, the objects themselves are decidedly low-rez. This is compounded by the fact that EOTD lacks the ability to zoom in. Because of this, I found myself relying a great deal more on the hint feature than I usually do. The colors are beautiful, however, and all of the locations possess a dreamlike, mysterious quality. There are also subtle animations (butterflies flying, orbs glowing, etc) on most of the screens that really add to the atmosphere. It's definitely a beautiful game; Big Fish just needs to re-render it at a higher resolution to make it eye-popping.
The sound of EOTD is one area where it really stands out. The voice acting is top-notch, and the music has an airy ethereal quality that sucks you into the game. Wear headphones while you play this game to maximize its greatest feature.
Empress Of The Deep: The Darkest Secret HD is a solid hidden object adventure game. While its gameplay doesn't stand out in any particular way, it has no real faults, and if you like this type of game, you won't go wrong with it. The Inability to zoom in as you search for objects rankles a bit, but it's certainly not a dealbreaker. Remember to play it with headphones, though; the music and voice acting alone are worth the price of admission.
Ratings (scale of 1 to 5):
Graphics: - 3 - Beautifully drawn scenes, but rendered at a too low resolution, with no way to zoom in while you search.
Sound: - 5 - Truly top-notch voice acting, and a beautiful soundtrack make this the game?s best feature.
Controls: - 4 - Accurate and intuitive touch interface, with easy to understand mini-games.
Gameplay: - 4 - A solid hidden object adventure game that breaks no new ground.
Playing Hints and Tips:
Tapping randomly will result in black smoke obscuring your view for a few seconds. Take your time and tap with precision. There is no bonus for finishing quickly. Don't be afraid to use the in-game hints. There is no penalty for accessing this feature.
Developer: Big Fish Games
Release Date: May 3, 2011
Buy App: Empress Of The Deep: The Darkest Secret HD
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