Samantha Swift and the Hidden Roses of Athena is developed by Mumbo Jumbo for the Nintendo DS and is a point and click puzzle adventure game. Samantha Swift is an archaeologist and adventurer and is on one of the greatest adventures of her life.
Samantha’s mission is to piece together a deep dark mystery surrounding the Roses of Athena as she tries to outwit rival treasure hunter Ravena Stryker. With the help of her close associates Dr Norwynn Butler and Adam Woodson, Samantha will travel to seven exotic locations around the world to solve puzzles, collect artifacts and gather items for The Museum of Secrets Lost. The Nintendo DS top screen shows you the scene, from deep dark caves to sumptuous palaces. In these scenes are a series of objects that you are required to find by simply tapping on the bottom screen with the stylus. You can zoom in and out using the L shoulder button and the X button is used to switch between the items list and the tools list.
Each of the seven locations that Samantha visits will be heavily populated with items and artifacts. The artifacts that you find will be placed in the Museum of Secrets Lost. In each of the levels, a list of items will be shown on the bottom screen of the DS. To collect an item you simply touch it with the stylus. The items in the list must be collected in order to advance to the next stage. There two ways to view a level,which include an overview and zoomed-in mode. I personally enjoyed playing the zoomed-in mode as the items that you are required to find are quite small and it proved a little more difficult in the overview mode.
During your adventure you will find useful tools that may provide you with the next clue in a puzzle and show up as a blue gears symbol. So for instance, I may have found nearly all the items, except for a few and these items are discovered when you use certain tools. An example may be that Samantha Swift has recovered hammer and will need to break through glass with the hammer to get to a precious gem. All of the tools are used in a puzzle like way.
Samantha has her own scanner located on the top screen and you can touch any item to see a blue print of what this may look like when hidden away. But if you get a little stylus happy, as I did after frantically tapping away, you will soon discover that Samantha won’t be just recovering artifacts, but will also have a broken scanner that no longer works for a duration of time. The game provides hints if you get stuck trying to find an item that will point you in the right direction. It’s sometimes really hard to see some of the items within the scene as they are all very cleverly hidden away. The hint button is very useful, but will need recharging before you can use it again.
The puzzles are all good. Areas will show up with a green magnifying glass to indicate that a puzzle needs to be solved and pieced together. While some of the puzzles are relatively easy to solve, some others will require you to put on your thinking caps. Certain puzzles in the game require an artifact to be put together piece by piece in order to solve the puzzle, including putting jigsaw puzzles together, assembling carvings and stones or even balancing scales so they have the correct weight in them. Once you’ve travelled from location to location gathering items and artifacts, you can view the collection in the Musuem. Inside the museum players will find the West Wing which is home to a great collection of different masks from Guatemala and the East Wing is filled with ancient scrolls and sun jewellery.
Samantha Swift and the Hidden Roses of Athena offers a fun and solid experience combining hidden object finding with puzzle solving. The game offers a nice selection of interesting puzzles which will catch the players attention. One of the only real negative point was that the cutscenes were a little bit of a letdown. The developers have managed to add the right ingredients to this casual game, but I felt like the graphics fell short and sprites appeared small and unappealing. It would have been great to see more polished backgrounds to give it a more rewarding appearance. The other area I found disappointing was the storyline, which was not particularly interesting and had very little by way of plot.
This game will appeal to the causal gamer who enjoys hidden object adventures, although their attention may wander after a short while. Although the visuals and story are both underdeveloped, showing the game to be the budget title that it is, the puzzles are fun and the hidden objects are well hidden, which will be enough to keep the average casual gamer entertained for a while.