Full Review of Hidden City: Mystery of Shadows – A game of shadows
It looks like the casual detective game genre is on fire these days! We have seen a variety of games inspired by “Nancy Drew” – these cute, harmless games with gorgeous visuals, uncomplicated plot and hours of quiet, simple gameplay.
Hidden City claims to carry your imagination away, so let’s see if the developers stand by their words.
While dissecting this game, I found myself thinking that I saw it all before… Ah, of course – it’s the influence of H. P. Lovecraft’s works on this F2P detective jam! The narrative of the game starts off with various people having apocalyptic visions of something nasty to come. Rings a bell, doesn’t it?
As the main character, you’re supposed to untangle a series of mysteries that lead you to a final explanation of why and where from came this devilish black mist, which devoured one of your friends. To solve that puzzle you need to go to an enchanted city, populated by demonic creatures, wizards, fairies etc.
Your primary task is to search for hidden items, collecting them and playing mini-games fighting off ghouls and vampires. As you can see the gameplay has nothing extraordinary to offer, except for this slight mystical touch.
- A number of quests given to you by oddball characters.
- Artifact-making – it is vital for further progress.
- A bit of action with monster-slaying – the only way to procure some rare resources, items and weapons.
To say the truth, after a one-hour session at Hidden City, the voodoo masks, the ominous dark figures in black gowns, gargoyles etc. started making me yawn. Maybe this genre isn’t exactly my cup of tea, or maybe after just 60 minutes of gameplay, Hidden City becomes a bit repetitive.
Can’t take your eyes off it
I’m not embarrassed to say that the visuals of the game are luxurious, displaying minute and precise detalization. In one of the story scenes, there’s a cart with clementines, and you can actually count all of them.
I was always confused and intrigued why the detective games always have stunning graphics and dreadfully cheap gameplay at the same time. Well, I guess it’s the “necessary evil” of the detective genre.
The soundtrack perfectly matches the mood of the game, and you won’t believe it, but the cutscenes do have voiceovers – it’s like watching an interactive little movie on your device!
The technical aspect of the app is done satisfactorily. Most of the time you’ll have to manipulate the protagonist’s floating hand clicking on objects. It’s merely a tap/swipe principle that the game controls are based on which is ergonomically safe btw.
Although it has a number of bugs:
- The game cannot be started in the same profile on another device – the progress will be lost.
- The in-game chronometer may get frozen and then run lickety-split 2 mins later.
- Quests published on Facebook sometimes do not award you extra-exp point.
My favourite part: donations & purchases. The game is free for both iOS and Android but once you have it installed – oh boy…
The game has a special energy meter. You need this energy to complete various mini-games (e.g. monster-fighting), and there’s a catch: it never regenerates fully.
Moreover, you have a limited number of hints that help you find hidden objects. It never gets replenished once you spend all of them and as you’ve guessed the only way to escape this nightmare is to spend actual money. Up to $170 (surprised whistle).
Hidden City is mesmerizingly beautiful, but it has nothing new to offer. You have to be a patient and persistent person to complete it, and your wallet may become a lot thinner when you’re done with the game.