Forbidden Secrets: Alien Town
Extraordinary - A Guy's Review
*review based on completing the full CE version of the game in expert mode + bonus content, re-posted here in the interest of the release of the SE version, slightly modified*
This game is right up my alley. I'm mostly talking about the storyline. A sci-fi alien conspiracy mixed in with religion and Indian culture, and it is really well written. Now, this might not be for everybody, but for me it is perfect. Beware if you are extra sensitive about your religion, or find alien conspiracy theories blatantly stupid. You might get offended. If not, then there is nothing to think about, buy it as soon as you can and join a spectacular ride.
The graphics in this game are high quality on the most part. Like many others, it has mostly dark and dreary locations, but they are highly detailed and interesting sites. The cinematic cut-scenes might be the best I've seen so far in the casual game scene. It's dramatic, moves smoothly and basically looks similar to what you would expect in a movie. There are no live actors though, but the characters are well drawn. I tend to like drawn characters better anyway.
Animations are not that smooth elsewhere in the game though. They feel somewhat stiff and they have not spent much time on the lip-sync.
The voice-overs are mostly nicely done, but there is a few exceptions. It sounded like the same kid voiced all the children, and wasn't that believable. A funny note is that all the kids growing up with American adoptive parents in North America from birth had a very British accent. Unlikely.
The music ranged from OK to terrible. Something sounding like a orchestra warming up made a very intrusive sound in many scenes. Sound effects are perfectly fine though.
If ratings were separate I would give Visual Quality 5 (excellent) and sound 2 or 3, so ended up with 4.
The game had quite a bit of adventure elements. Some typical and some quite creative. I usually enjoy the adventure elements the most and this game kept me happy all the way through.
Puzzles were varied with some easy and some quite hard. Some we've all seen before, but also a few that had some originality to it (at least for me). I like when a game mixes the difficulty levels on their puzzles, so a nice fit to me here.
The hidden object scenes were quite cluttered clutter scenes, but were highly detailed and nice and colorful. There was a few objects that were hard to find in dark areas and rather small, but nothing that got too frustrating. All HO scenes were mildly interactive and had at least one smaller scene within it. You have to visit all of them (I think) twice, but once for finding items listed and another time to place (reverse HO) objects on/in/next to matching ones. That kept all scenes fresh and interesting, and it didn't feel repetitive.
The game mechanics functioned well as far as I can tell. The interface was easy to use. You have a journal and a map. The journal felt almost completely necessary a couple of times and the map is your best friend. The map is interactive and you can use it for fast-traveling. You can also opt for highlighted active zones and morphing object locations right on the map itself. Hook it on or off and own leisure. Brilliant.
You can choose between two difficulty settings:
-Sparkles on interactive zones
-30 second recharge of hint/skip function
-1 minute recharge of hint/skip function
I played it in expert mode and found the game moderately difficult. There was one or two times I had to use skip/hint. The map is of course very helpful to find out which locations you have stuff to do.
What's in the Collector's Edition?:
The CE version of the game also has a nice bonus chapter. Not lasting especially long, but was highly interesting and beautiful made as well. It also adds new locations and it is nicely connected to the main story. It does not ruin the conclusion of the main game, so in the SE you will not miss out on any essentials. It adds 40 morphing objects to find, a strategy guide and the typical wallpaper/art. It has no achievements or trophies
The main game seemed quite lengthy so you feel you get your money's worth. The CE doesn't add any essentials, but as far as CE's goes this one might be worth considering.
I recommend this game to everyone who likes these types of games, and especially if you like alien/government conspiracies and such. If you are a strict religious person, you might want to try it out before buying to be on the safe side. But for most people this should be pure enjoyment. I classify it as moderately difficult and it would suit mediocre and seasoned players. That does not mean that you should avoid it as a beginner. I think this game would be an excellent introduction game as well.
For the guys:
You play as a female character, but it is not very apparent. The story should suit both genders, so you don't want to miss this one.
December 8, 2012
Great Game, The Best Map I?ve Seen
GAME COMPLETED SEVERAL TIMES
Story: A TV show is turning the children of Fort Nightingale into zombies - but that's not the weirdest thing going on in the city! Enter this mystifying maelstrom as Clarrisa, a government agent that investigates unexplained phenomenon
Release Date: Dec 2012
Extras: Morphing Collectibles, Interactive Jump Map with Toggles
This is a top notch game, offering an interesting and unusual story with an action packed finish. Great graphics, interesting puzzles, a few arcade games, and enough HOs to keep me interested. The iHOs were of both the list and return items styles.
The characters were fun, with well done voiceovers and definitely different. Music was creepy and very alien. The weather changed partway through the game, which was a nice touch. On all counts, excellent.
But the best feature by far is its map. It is a jump map, necessary as there are a lot of locations and a fair amount of traipsing. It gives you active areas and even where the morphing collectibles are and can be more use than hint (which I never used, because I had the map). I say ?can be? because you can switch that feature off! Then toggle it back any time. Brilliant!
February 22, 2013
Save the world!
I liked the story, real sci-fi! There are 2 game modes; I played in Expert mode.
- The graphics are crisp.
- The HOS are partly interactive and also clear. There are no sparkles in this mode.
- The mini-games are quite easy but still interesting.
- There are 40 morphing objects to find.
- You have a helpful journal, containing the clues you found.
- The map is really good: you can decide if you want it to show you the active locations as well as the locations where there are morphing objects. And it allows you to jump to a location.
I needed 3 1/2 hours to finish. It's a good length and I loved the final cut-scene!
December 8, 2012
Good, Standard HOG
This is pretty good, fairly standard HOG with 2 modes of play. A mysterious town full of a strange disease and only you can keep the disease from spreading. On the plus side, there is an interactive map that saves on the backtracking. The soundtrack is good and the voices are nice. The graphics are good and clear. There are Beyond objects to find which always add an extra element of fun. On the minus side, the text is very small on my standard monitor. The puzzles are not overly challenging but still fun. A very nice SE offering.
December 8, 2012
An interesting story about people afflicted with a disease causing them to be in a state of stupor. Voiceovers are okay, as are the actors. It?s usually easy to figure out what has to be done next, but if you become stumped, the interactive map, showing where current activities are available, is most helpful.
Physical environments are somewhat drab. HOS are not crowded; in fact, there was a most efficient use of HOS scenes. There would be a small amount of objects to find and interact with, followed by another short list. They were a pleasure to do. Also had to put objects back where they belong. Some were obvious; other were not ? moderately challenging. Nice game ? though not as compelling as some others. About 3 1/2 stars rounded down for the overly drab locations.
December 8, 2012
Plot and length is good but that was about it for me (SE does have morphs)
I finished the CE and the bonus wasn't worth it IMO and was just a backstory so the ending in the SE is the same.
I should have stuck with my first instincts of this game, that the graphics are dreary and thought the puzzles were boring and the HOS was mostly junkpile. The plot was good and it?s a good length game but that was about it.
I bought the CE on sale before I realised the SE had morphs! I love collectables and morphs but the morphs were not well done. The icon changed when it went over a morph and mostly it was in dark shadows so it was really hard to see. I like collectables/morphs to be a challenge but I prefer it not to solely rely on darkness to do this.
I thought it was great that the transporter map had two different choices on it, one for morph tips and one for things to do in a scene. You can turn both on or off during the game and I wish every DEV would do this.
I know a lot of people like their challenge to be purely memory and don?t mind loads of backtracking. If you like that then this game delivers. I prefer my gameplay and puzzles to be more of a challenge. The backtracking in this was HUGE even with a map, backtrack for one thing then go somewhere else. This makes it more bitty for me and just didn?t have a good flow for my taste. This game just did not keep my attention due to this.
I feel this developer has done better graphics in the past, and this is apart from the dreary look.
29 PUZZLES (has a skip button)
The puzzles by the end I wanted to scream if I saw one more puzzle ?you?ve seen this combination before.? They were so easy it was boring and also kept repeating a certain type ? swap tiles/rings etc. At the beginning there was hardly any ?puzzles? and I don?t class looking up a combination in your journal as a puzzle and there were LOADS of ?puzzles? like that.
There were about 3 or 4 arcade type. I prefer logical, work out puzzles rather than guess the right sequence etc. Apart from 1 or 2 puzzles I did not like them at all. You also have auto tips on hard mode which you should have an info button to bring up this info without it automatically being given.
9 reverse (put an item back in a scene)
10 list type
Most were repeated, do one list then it?s repeated as a reverse scene. There is no random click penalty on the hard mode (choice of two modes you have). A lot was in the junk pile realm, some very small items. I personally didn?t like the look of most of them even though the reverse kind is my favourite kind of HOS.
TIME main game over 5 hrs (hard mode)
I have no problem recommending the SE due to it having morphs but I just thought overall it was a bit boring and I did not like the graphics, puzzles or HOS. But again your taste may be different.
January 12, 2013
Bought CE but wish I had bought SE instead...
Even though I think it is unnecessary to buy this game as a CE, I did really enjoy this game. I am a fan of this Dev, especially since they often have games with original stories such as this one (Another recent game of theirs that I really enjoyed is The Gift. Like this game, it also has a unique story and is quite gripping) If you are sick of the same old same old, i.e. ghosts, missing relatives etc., you should give this game a try, especially if you are a Sci-Fi fan like me. I kind of felt like I was in the middle of an X-Files case and that I got to be both Mulder and Scully while playing this game, and that was really cool. I really enjoyed the main game and found the ending satisfying, but I did not enjoy the bonus game and felt as if it was unnecessary, which is why I think people won't be missing out on anything if they buy the SE instead of the CE.
The bonus game felt tacked on at the last minute and didn't really add anything to the story for me. There are morphing objects in the CE, which I don't really care about, but I know other people like those and I have heard that they are in the SE as well, and that you don't need to buy the CE to be able to find them. Other than that, there weren't any special achievements in the CE. I don't care about wallpapers and other extras like that, and didn't even check to see if the game had those things. If you only buy CEs for the bonus game, I would think twice about doing that with this game, but if you want extras like wallpapers than you might want to consider buying the CE. I do not think the strategy guide is necessary. I only referred to it a few times and it wasn't very helpful to me, especially when it came to trying to figure out how to complete a puzzle I was stuck on. I had to skip a few puzzles since I was unable to figure them out. There is an interactive map, which I loved and wish more games had those, and it told you where you needed to go to complete an action, and that made the strategy guide unnecessary. The hint system was helpful too.
I enjoyed the puzzles in this game and felt as if some of them offered a good challenge. The H0 scenes aren't back to back, which I prefer, and they alternated between interactive H0 scenes and scenes where you had to find where an object on your list went. I liked this variety, and it made the H0 scenes more interesting for me.
In general, the game play and story were gripping. I kept saying I was going to quit playing but was unable to. I played most of the game in one sitting. I would guess that it took me about 5-6 hours to finish the game (not including the bonus). I am an intermediate player and am slower than some people, so it might take faster players less time than that, but I definitely think this game is good value for a SE, and I recommend it to people who are looking for a game to play that is different and fun!
December 17, 2012
WOW!! GOOD GAME
Loved it!! I was totally hooked by the demo..the graphics are amazing, the story is compelling, the HOs are interactive and different and the mini games are fun. You get to find morphing objects and use an interactive map, which is a must because there are tons of places to go! This really has a lot to offer for a SE. True, the scenes are a little dark, but it only adds to the overall spookiness of the story. Some strange disease has rendered most people in the village into a frozen state, while the children seem to be turned into shining eyed zombies....scared the cheese right out of me the first time I encountered one!
A lot of fun!
December 8, 2012
Outstanding si fi
Just wonderful si fi game. I wish there were many more like it. The beginning is brilliant!
The story is absolutely fantastic and it grabed me from the start. I was intrigued by the plot due to the amazing start and was hooked on the game from then. Lots of different puzzles and many different areas that you have to work on. The game made you think about what you had to do. It wasn't just straight forward. This added value to the game.
Most importantly for me anyway, it was a si fi and as I am a si fi nut, I reckon it has been the best game of the year. Lots and lots of gaming fun which is what it's all about.
To the game designers Alaware - please make more for next year. I can't wait!!!
December 14, 2012
A fine game, yes a very game!
Loved this game. I have played the CE twice already. The Bonus Chapter in the CE version is quite good. Answers who on this earth placed the critters on the porch of the orphanage. Now if you choose to play only the SE you will not feel slighted in play.
Play it! Perhaps it will become an all time favorite as it has for me.
December 10, 2012