When will headstrong adventurers realize you can't go on a trip through the tropics without getting stranded on a mysterious piece of land? Secret Mission: The Forgotten Island begins with researcher Chanel Flores finding herself on an island that doesn't really exist. And, when she discovers strange crystals and an unusual tree, she discovers it's not so deserted, either.
Secret Mission: The Forgotten Island is a hybrid hidden object/adventure game with a slight leaning towards the latter. That's no surprise, really, as the game was created by Frogwares, veteran adventure game studio that also crafted Secret Missions: Mata Hari and the Kaiser's Submarines. Explore the island one still screen at a time, gathering items, poking your nose in every corner, and assembling things in your inventory to help you uncover more secrets on this strange tropical paradise.
You'll notice each area features a number of items scattered on the ground along with a few sparkling spots you can click. Grab what you can and stash it in your inventory, you'll need it to solve one of the puzzles close by. Each area features a small handful of explorable scenes, and you'll need to track back and forth between them to find things you need to complete the location. Hidden object scenes in Secret Mission are short, relatively easy, and function as puzzles to supply key items you need in the main game. Even if you have the puzzle solving sense of a tub of molasses, with a little exploration you can easily work your way through this game.
No modern casual game would be complete without mini-games, and Secret Mission doesn't buck convention. The battery of games isn't all that unique, but they're very well-integrated into the story and are usually quick and easy to complete. Even if you hate the puzzle you're talked into completing!
Analysis: Great visual package, simple gameplay, non-complex puzzles, good mini-games, and a standard storyline, Secret Mission walks the safe path in hidden object gaming. It never tries to create anything fantastically new for the genre, but sometimes you don't need to innovate to create an entertaining experience. When it comes down to it, Secret Mission is just enjoyable. Not groundbreaking, just fun.
Secret Mission is designed for the most casualest of casual players. From the beginning, you have the option of two difficulty levels: easy and normal. The only real difference is the hint timer in easy mode refills at a much faster rate, not that it's really necessary in the super-simple hidden object scenes. The rest of the game tends to hold your hand a bit too much, spelling everything out in front of your face and leaving the puzzle solving to trial-and-error clicking. Please, Secret Mission, leave me alone to figure out things for myself. I'm sure my big fancy brain can figure out that the conveniently-placed rope with a hook on it is used to reel in the box from the water.
Secret Mission: The Forgotten Island doesn't tread new ground in the hidden object/adventure hybrid field, but it does everything it promises quite well. You won't be floored by any particular aspect of the game, but in the end, you'll have a pleasantly fun time solving its puzzles.