iPad Game Review: Hidden Wonders of the Depths HD Review
Reviewed by JadeDragon
If you're a fan of puzzle games and you've thought to yourself "wouldn't it be nice to have match-3, collapse, jigsaw puzzle, mahjong and hidden objects gameplay all in one game?" Then the new puzzle game title from G5 Entertainment, Hidden Wonders of the Depths is the game for you. Mixing all the game styles on a puzzle fan's wishlist, Hidden Wonders of the Depths offers 204 deep sea locations, 25 levels of gameplay, 4 hidden objects bonus levels, 8 jigsaw puzzles with a main focus on match-3 and collapse games. There's nothing really new here, but the game is very addictive nonetheless.
Hidden Wonders of the Depths starts you off with match-3 and collapse games where you can collect puzzle pieces, money and power to unlock power-ups and score bonus levels. Once you've completed collecting puzzles, you get a jigsaw puzzle to put together or a hidden object scene as bonus. You'll also get mahjong style memory game that gets more and more difficult to play. All these gameplay styles come in as one level and all have a timer and you have to complete them within the time limit or you have to use up a heart to replay. To help you along the way, the game offers 8 power-ups that you unlock throughout the game. The power ups work in most of the gameplay styles but mostly they're there for the match-3 and collapse gameplay.
The mixture of game styles feels fluid, not forced or jarring. Yes, it's highly scripted when you play which game, but the style fits casual gamers who want to pick up the game and play. Each game is pretty short, and they come in rapid firing fashion which gives you a sense that you're always doing different things from the last game. The difficulty level in the beginning stages is quite low, a good tactic to get casual gamers hooked; but it'll get harder as you progress into the 25 sets of games to satisfy the hardcore puzzle gamers. Hidden Wonders of the Depths offers Game Center support with dozens of achievements.
Graphics & Sound
Hidden Wonders of the Depths looks sharp and colorful on the iPad with Retina Display. The graphics are polished with well designed puzzle tiles that fit the deep water theme and animations are smooth. To break the stale background when you play the mixture of games, Hidden Wonders of the Depths has a fish tank like animation on the background behind the game board, and while you're playing the game you can pick up more species of fish and marine life to add to the background aquarium. The game has a very intuitive UI including prompts to give you hints to what to do next, clearly indicated timer, power-ups and other elements of the game. The touch and tap controls work smoothly on the iPad as well.
Hidden Wonders of the Depths offers both background music and sound effects, and they're both adequate. The background tune is playful, light and bright, and it's good to keep you moving on different puzzles. There's plenty of sound effects on each game board and all animations have sound FX as well. The audio package feels complete yet not overwhelming.
Why play one type of puzzle game when you can play them all? That's the theory behind Hidden Wonders of the Depths and the gameplay succeeds at giving you many types of puzzle gameplay in one polished package. Games are on the easy side but still quite addictive, and the mix is fun and keeps things interesting. There is a very good amount of gameplay in this game, and the sharp and bright visual helps you go through all of them pleasantly. The game is free to try and you can unlock the full version via IAP.
Ratings (scale of 1 to 5):
Graphics: -4.5- Polished but not overly done.
Sound: -4- Complimentary to the visual with both cheery BGM and sound FX.
Controls: -5- Well designed and works smoothly.
Gameplay: -4.5- Surprisingly well mixed with several puzzle game styles, pretty easy to beat in the beginning and gets harder later on.
Playing Hints and Tips:
After you unlock the power-ups, the game gets harder as it assumes you might use the power-ups. So use them.
Developer: G5 Entertainment
Release Date: Apr 3, 2013
Price: $2.99, free to download and try
Buy App: Hidden Wonders of the Depths
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