Platform: Nintendo DS (also available for the Nintendo Wii)
Genre(s): Point-and-Tap Adventure
Mode(s): Singe player, assisted suicide
Time clocked: Three to four hours
If Hidden Mysteries Titanic: Secrets of the Fateful Voyage could be considered a videogame then I’d consider it the worst videogame ever crafted. But it’s not a videogame; it’s an exercise in excessive tapping. And you’d probably have more fun going down with the iconic sailing vessel than solving these puzzles.
There’s a story. Kind of. You play as Margaret Ashley, a young woman recently married to a wealthy, British businessman. He’s also a huge jerk. 98% of the characters you meet are huge jerkheads. It’s like the Titanic put out a sign or something saying that “all jerkfaces get extra biscuits with dinner if they BOARD RIGHT AWAY.” Half the plot is Margaret getting on the ship and exploring her surroundings, and the other half is her getting off the ship and exploring her surroundings. There’s really no point to any of this, but eventually Margaret finds herself in the thick of things.
There’s also a mummy’s curse. Yeah, I don’t know.
There are two types of puzzles in this game: collect-a-thons and item-based enigmas. The former is easy; you are given a single screen to explore and find ten of a specific item. There’s no nudge as to what exactly you should be collecting, but with one or two taps you’ll quickly figure it out and find them all with ease. The other puzzle aspect is using items you found in various locations strategically. This might involve dirtying a coat to pass as a peasant or figuring out how to open a locked door with powdered sugar. Some are obvious and easy, others surprisingly frustrating. The one puzzle where you had to move the eagle off its stand to above a doorway to open a secret passage was boggling. It’s a lot of trial and error (a.k.a. constant tapping), and if you do get stuck…do not fret! You can totally skip it or ask for a hint, wherein the hint circles in giant blue stars the item you need. Easy peasy.
But let’s take a look at some of the game’s bullet points:
• Puzzle-solving challenges compel you to watch your inventory and use your mind!
• Your character’s interaction with other people aboard the ship enables you to gather information and key items
• 15 chapters in the story each with multiple scenes and mini-games
• Waterline progression gives each scene a different look as time passes
• Dialog choices give you options to follow different paths within the game and multiple endings are created based upon those choices
Lies, all of them. Might as well tell the passengers that they didn’t hit an iceberg, but rather a nice, soft cloud. No, no…go back to sleep. Nothing to worry about. The idea of branching storylines is bloated; at different points in the game, you get two dialogue choices. They all boil down to the penultimate decision of saving your jerkface husband or your jerkface mother. Unfortunately, there’s no third option to let them both drown slowly in the cold, unforgiving ocean.
The writing is simply atrocious. I’ve already commented on the offensively hilarious spelling error on the back of the DS case, but it didn’t end there. The dialogue, already stock and cliché, is riddled with inconsistencies. Plus a lot of “alrights,” a personal pet peeve of mine. Some contractions are missing apostrophes. Really basic stuff. I suspect they hired a non-survivor to write it all. Get it? Hmm? It’s so bad it’s written by a dead passenger? Whatever. There’s even little snippets of video which do not do much save for adding some loon shouting the infamous, “ICEBERG! STRAIGHT AHEAD!” The audio is low to begin with, making it hard to hear Margaret’s complaining.
Because I’m a masochist, I beat the whole game, earning 100%, but my mother stopped after 5% and my sister stopped after 10%. They got on the lifeboats before the ship even sailed. Lucky them.
It’s certainly the worst thing I’ve ever played, offering either no challenge or an extremely unapologetic level of difficulty, and there was very little to even play. Tap, tap, tap, move through scene, tap, tap, tap, and so on. Like the RMS Titanic, this game sunk hard and fast from the start of its journey. Do not waste your time and money on it.
1 out of 10
(NOTE: The screenshots in this review were taken from the Wii version since no one really wanted to upload any DS stills online. Can’t blame ‘em. The two versions use the same art though so just imagine them at a lower resolution and you’re good to go.)