Cats like Pizza – and don’t mind phones taped to their backs…
Secret Files: Tunguska has been around for a fair while now, making appearances on various consoles and the PC. But, as seems to be fashionable in recent months, the point and click conspiracy game has made its way onto iOS devices for mobile gamers to enjoy during lunch breaks, while they are waiting for a bus or, as is often the case for me, when someone else is playing the PS4. It may not be the most uplifting of games, but it does provide plenty of classic puzzles that can only be solved by combining items.
In Secret Files: Tunguska, players will take on the role of Nina Kalenkow and occasionally her friend Max as they search for Nina’s father Vladimir. The fact that his disappearance may have had something to do with the real life unsolved Tunguska event of 1908, in which an explosion in remote Siberia knocked down some 80 million trees across 830 square miles, only deepens the intrigue.
The puzzles in Tunguska are of a classic variety, and there are plenty of them. Players will find themselves scanning each environment for objects to interact with or grab and place in an inventory to combine with other items further down the line. The solutions range from the fairly obvious to the somewhat obscure, such as the previously hinted at taping of a phone to the back of a cat. Also, many times, the puzzle solutions will seem convoluted in relation to the problem at hand. But this is pretty standard for the more classic point and click adventures, and Secret Files: Tunguska has been around long enough to be known as classic.
When it comes to finding items of interest, a button is available to highlight these items in each screen, should the player need some help. It certainly makes life easier when playing on the small screen of the iPhone, but it is the players choice to use it. For the veterans of classic point and click adventures, the button can be ignored altogether in favor of good eyesight.
The point and click adventure game stands pretty much opposite the quick-hit titles that tend to be popular on mobile devices. However, by including the option to save wherever the player wants means that jumping into Tunguska for a mere five minutes is an option, and a handy journal that keeps track of everything important ensures that the player won’t be lost when they come back.
The story moves along at a fairly interesting pace, taking the player traveling to some very different places as they investigate. Strange conspiracy theories and somewhat stilted humour are used to move everything along for the ten or so hours of gameplay, which at only £2.99 is pretty good value.
But everything is not great in the Secret Files. The characters themselves lack the charm and connection of certain other point and click heroes, and the voice over work is just not that great. This could come in large part down to the translation, with dialogue that occasionally doesn’t work and grammatical mistakes in the subtitles. The story itself also falters along the way, not being as believable or even as interesting as you may hope.
Secret Files: Tunguska has, as already mentioned, been around for a while now, so don’t expect anything ground breaking in the visual department. That being said, the game doesn’t look bad, just merely adequate.
Which in many ways sums up the game – adequate. Fans of the point and click adventure who have thus far not dipped their toes into the Secret Files pool will find there is plenty to keep them entertained until something better and more memorable comes along. Those who have been turned to the point and click genre by recent iOS releases may well find Secret Files: Tunguska slightly lacking. However, at only £2.99 for more than 10 hours of gameplay, and hundreds of puzzles to solve, Secret Files: Tunguska suddenly seems quite attractive.