Hidden Secrets: The Nightmare
Flora Dale has been having one of those days. First there was the excitement of the birthday party and the lottery ticket, and then later, the horrible fall down the stairs. Now she finds herself in a hospital bed, trapped inside her own subconscious. If she hopes to survive, she must discover what has happened. Faced with obscure puzzles and hidden clues, Flora must pull off the most challenging of escapes: from her own mind. She can't do it alone... she'll need your help. If you think you can handle the disturbing landscape of the victim's mind, then you must play Hidden Secrets: The Nightmare.
Don't let the title fool you. Hidden Secrets: The Nightmare is not your average hidden object game. While searching for certain items in a scene is an essential aspect, the game resembles more of a point-and-click adventure. Items often need to be combined once they are found, or used within the scene to reveal hidden clues or codes. Each scene offers clues which will eventually need to be put together in order to solve the mystery: Who threw Flora down the staircase?
A small bit of narrative follows the completion of each scene, leading Flora closer to understanding the cause of her demise. Once this plays out, you will be presented with one or two mini-games. These challenges vary throughout the game, from puzzles of sliding blocks, rolling balls, and jumping pegs to tests of memory and observation. One simple, yet elegant mini game even requires you to sort out Flora's tangled neurons. If a particular mini-game gets to be too frustrating, you are allowed to skip a few. Use your skips wisely, otherwise you may later find yourself stuck in a gridlock of memories with no time to waste.
You are only given a certain amount of time for each set, scene and mini-game(s). While the game will automatically pause if you leave the window, time will pass quickly as you search each scene for clues. Be careful! Random or erroneous clicks will take away small chunks of time, while asking for a hint will take an entire five minutes away. If enough of your time is used, you may not be able to complete the required puzzles. In this case, you will have to repeat the scene from the beginning.
With a blend of puzzles, adventure, and mystery, Hidden Secrets: The Nightmare is sure to please. While most of the challenges are variations on the same old puzzles (some as ancient as the Towers of Hanoi), they are combined with beautifully detailed scenes, haunting music, and an intriguing plot. Overall, this adds up to a delightful casual gaming experience.