Hidden-Wonders-of-the-Depths--iOS-Review Hidden Wonders of the Depths iOS Review

   03/04/2013 at 21:35       Drew Bower       2 COMMENTS. - Score 2/5
 - G5 Entertainment, ERS G-Studio, Casual, Puzzle, Match 3

I suppose it’s kind of inevitable that when you’ve got a bunch of successful genres such as match 3, hidden object and tile matching, someone is going to come along and lump all of them together into one tidy package. This is exactly what ERS G-Studio has done for G5 Entertainment’s latest release, Hidden Wonders of the Depths.

Not only does Hidden Wonders feature a myriad of different gameplay styles, but it also puts a spin on a handful of them with the addition of a crab trying to make his way towards a treasure chest. Like a drunkard with a house key in every pocket, the crab wants to take a winding path towards his goal and in his booze addled state, cannot deal with the continuous obstructions that block his path. That’s where you come in to help out. I should perhaps make note that the crab is at no point in the game described as being a drunkard or booze addled. I’m not sure if he has a house key in every pocket, though.

The match 3 sections are pretty much exactly what you expect with swapping places of two icons to line up a row of three or more to make them disappear. Any pieces that are about to drop into the crab’s path will gladly oblige in waiting for him to wander along up to the next blockage. As you would perhaps expect, further hindrances are quickly introduced such as blocks tied down with rope that require a combo match to firstly unlock and then another to be removed. Removal of these tiles is also a requirement of completing the level.

Pairs is pretty much exactly what it says on the tin – you simply turn over two cards at a time in the hope of finding a pair. This quickly expands into more of a mahjong solitaire style with cards being stacked on top of each other.

Tile matching tasks you with removing groups of three or more adjoining tiles all of the same type, with specific tiles that need to be removed. Once again, to make things more difficult certain tiles are locked and require being a part of more than one combo to be kicked off the board. To add further complexity, the playing boards come in many irregular shapes and sizes.

Bonus rounds come in the form of hidden object scenes and mosaic jigsaw tile puzzles. The hidden object scenes really are quite pitiful and literally have many objects piled up on top of each other. The mosaic tile puzzles offer a decent little challenge and upon completion give you a power up bonus to use in the main game.

Whilst everything seems nice and breezy so far, there are a couple of disappointing gripes to contend with. First up, is despite the variety of gameplay styles, they are actually pretty basic and soon become very repetitive. There isn’t really anything new to see such as different backdrops or settings so essentially all that changes is the difficulty.

Secondly, I found the touch controls a bit clunky and often unresponsive. The number of times I found myself jabbing at a tile three or four times before it would select just about drove me mad. I found you needed to give a longer, more assured touch of the screen to get a guaranteed register, which doesn’t fit in with the frantic nature of timed arcade games. Developers have now had years of experience dealing with touch screen devices, so there really can be no excuse for not delivering a flawless experience.

It’s rather a shame that these faults take away from what would be a perfectly acceptable, yet highly unspectacular little time waster. The initiative is there and it is commendable that an attempt to add in some unique twists has been made. But the overall experience of playing is not particularly inspiring.

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