Hands-On With The Secret Castle

Last November Platronic Games were kind enough to give us a sneak peek into their upcoming Find the Hidden Object title, The Secret Castle. Our first look excited us a great deal because the game’s full 3D take on Find the Hidden Object seemed like just the revolution needed to liven up a genre that’s become about as ubiquitous as endless runners. Now that we’ve spent some time with a development build, we’re all the more convinced!

Here’s a quick recap in case you missed our first look and developer interview. The Secret Castle stars Jonas Lyon, who continually finds himself wandering the titular estate in his dreams. Naturally, this is a matter requiring investigation. He teams up with his newfound friend, a fan of mysticism named Ava, to research his findings in the dream world and unravel the real-world story that may lie behind them. They must rely on objects found in the dream world to prove their theories and provide new direction, hence the link between storyline and gameplay.

My pet peeve with the Find the Hidden Object genre is that players could, in many cases, essentially put on a blindfold and tap madly at the screen until everything’s plucked out. Not so in The Secret Castle! Here, the player has to intelligently shift his or her viewpoint by tilting the iDevice, revealing objects that had been tucked behind obstacles in the environment’s default view. Once something interesting has been teased out, the player double taps the screen to freeze the current viewpoint so that swipe and pinch controls can be used for panning and zooming. Jonas usually enters his dreams with some idea of what he needs to find, so the player can drag up an inventory menu to check progress and review shapes to watch out for. By far the coolest – and trickiest – thing we’ve seen in the test build is the need to literally construct some objects through viewpoint shifting. Let’s say a scroll you need to collect has been torn in half and the pieces separated…why run up and piece it back together when you can just make it look like it’s together, freeze the viewpoint, and collect it hassle-free? In The Secret Castle’s dream world, appearances really count for something!

No word on a release window yet, but this is definitely one to watch out for. Check out a live demonstration below, and keep an eye on Platronic’s dev blog, Facebook page and Twitter account for the latest news!