Forbidden Secrets: Alien Town
I've been waiting for this to show up, and had to download as soon as I saw it.
There are separate sliders for music, sound effects, and ambient sounds, as well as options for desktop resolution (from 800x600 to 1920x1080), full screen, widescreen, and custom cursor, plus you can view the credits from the options screen.
The opening scene is long and amazing. You could skip it, but you're really going to be missing something if you do! I actually started a new profile so that I could concentrate on the graphics and all of the amazing nuances the artists added. Beautifully done!
Upon the completion of the opening scene, you can choose between Casual and Expert modes. The tutorial is optional. The journal contains extra story (happy day!), and the HINT button refills in either 30 seconds or 1 minute, depending on which difficulty mode you choose.
Our inventory bar retracts when not in use, allowing us an even better view of the gorgeous graphics. Try clicking on random items - some will react, making the scenes even more interactive.
As a mini-game, we have 40 Beyond (morphing) Objects to find throughout gameplay. Love having this kind of extra in my games!
Using a HINT during the adventure portion of the game will either point out something of interest, or if there's nothing to do in that location, will open the map and highlight the location where there is something to do. The MAP has the jump-to option, something I'm sure those who don't like to-ing and fro-ing are celebrating over
The map even shows which locations have a Beyond Object you've not found yet, and it's a good thing, for it's easy to get so wrapped up in the story that you forget to look for those objects.
There are interactive hidden object scenes, and the list shows four to eight items-to-find at any given time. At the top of the list, it shows how many items there are to find in that location, total. Some of the scenes are mostly interaction, making it seem more like these scenes are mini-games. (Nice!) There are also times when you have items to put back into the scene -- yet another aspect adding to the feeling of the HOS being minis. There is NO misclick penalty in Casual mode - not sure about in Expert mode.
There are a few mini-games that depend on reflexes (Oh no! Whack-an-alien!), but all (actual) minis are skippable.
I have to take a moment to return to the graphics. I found the devs' attention to detail breathtaking. I wasn't in love the the scenes where we talk to characters (I tended to click through them as soon as I read the text), but the cutscenes and all of the locations, etc. were amazing. Tiny dust motes floating in the air, dancing shadows, gusts of wind, the drizzling of the rain... All of the little touches that the devs added make this a work of art, rather than just another game. I haven't seen so much attention paid to nuances in the graphics since Classic Adventures: The Great Gatsby. I'll play it again just to see the graphics!
The story is very interesting, and we get some nice surprises along the way.
There are 40 locations (not including hidden object scenes and zoom-in scenes) in the main game, and 16 locations in the bonus chapter -- 11 of which are unique to the bonus. The bonus is a prequel to the main story, and while four of the locations are re-used, the basic look and lighting on these scenes are different, lending to the feeling that this is, indeed happening in another time.
Besides the bonus chapter, we have 13 very nice concept art pictures, an integrated strategy guide, and 9 wallpapers in two sizes: 1024x768 and 1280x800. The walls are all taken from gameplay.
This is a superb game, from the story to the gameplay to the graphics. The gameplay is perhaps a bit on the linear side (making it a bit easier than the advanced player might like), but this game is absolutely recommended, no matter what your difficulty preference!