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 Da Vinci's Secret
It seems Leonardo Da Vinci just can't keep a secret these days!

Everywhere you look lately, books, movies and T.V. shows keep popping up with juicy new details about the famous artist and his works, some 488 years after his death! Well now the inevitable has happened, a new game has jumped on the ol’ Da Vinci bandwagon with a puzzle challenge called appropriately enough “Da Vinci’s Secret”.
I must confess before playing this, I honestly knew very little about Leonardo Da Vinci, except that he was a famous painter and inventor. Like a lot of people I recognized his works (Mona Lisa, The Last Supper) and thought they were gorgeous, but beyond that I never really thought much about the man, so I was more than a little curious when I came across this new game.

In this story, a woman named Helen has discovered a mysterious ancient Da Vinci scroll belonging to her newly deceased uncle. With the help of a kind professor, Helen sets off on a trek across Europe, discovering secret clues hidden in the notes, journals and paintings of Leonardo Da Vinci. In order to reveal the clues and crack the mystery, Helen must first solve a series of brain bending puzzles to unravel the riddles hidden within.
Listen, the storyline really is secondary here and doesn’t have any impact on the gameplay what’s so ever. But at this point, I think just about everyone has heard about Da Vinci's alleged secret codes. Right?
What? You haven’t yet purchased your very one special collector’s edition” Da Vinci’s Last Supper Wooden Flatware Set” or the “Water into Wine Decanter Set”? Gasp.
The story doesn't reveal anything new and exciting that you haven’t already heard (But I won't spoil it for those who haven't read or seen the “Da Vinci Code”.)

The objective of “Da Vinci's Secret” is to move colored balls around a playing field into groups of 3 or more. The balls are moved in a sliding up/down, left/ right motion using your mouse, remember those little plastic slider puzzle games you used to have as a kid, well it’s just like that.
Once you’ve made a matching group it is then removed from the screen, freeing up space to make a clear path for special objects to be moved around from one point to another.
The goal of each level is to create a path for a key to find its way to a lock.
The puzzles are slow and methodical. This is not just another simple color match 3 game. Strategy is needed to complete the levels, it's a bit like chess or checkers in that you have to think about how your current move will ultimately affect your next move.
The balls are not rapidly descending towards a bottomless pit, nor is there a timer ticking away at your nerves. Instead, you must concentrate and use logic and careful planning to arrange the balls successfully. This makes for challenging yet relaxing gameplay; it rewards smart thinking rather than fast clicking.
Gamers who enjoy rapid clicking and flashing lights will be bored and disappointed here, but for puzzle fans that prefer good old fashioned problem solving will love the complex challenges within the game.

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After the first 2 stages, the puzzles get much more challenging but never become tedious or frustrating in any way. If you get real stumped however there is a hint system that is never far away to help with a move.

Power ups or bonus items are dropped into the action every so often as a reward for good play, such as fireballs and bombs that blow up everything around them when you match large groups of balls in a row.

The graphics are right on point and fit the mood nicely. It does a good job of creating the feeling that you are right there alongside the characters on their quest through the stone alleyways of Europe, past the dark corners and catacombs full of ancient mazes and clues.
In between levels we are treated to more of the storyline, and while the characters are charming and sweet you will soon come realize that the adventures of Helen and the Professor have become nothing more than a minor distraction on the way to the next puzzle. I myself skipped past the often lengthy dialogue and screenshots of Da Vinci's artwork in order to get back to the juicy, addictive great mind bending puzzles!

Now onto the sounds, the music was medieval sounding with harps and flutes playing softly in the background, it suited the time period of the game perfectly.

So by now, I think you realize that this game doesn't actually reveal any secrets about Leonardo Da Vinci, so if you were looking to decode any conspiracy theories, you’ve come to the wrong place my friend.
After playing this great game I still know very little about Leonardo Da Vinci, except that he was a famous painter and inventor! But that’s alright, with its clever puzzles and fun plot, “Da Vinci's Secrets” was definitely one of the most enjoyable puzzle games I’ve ever played.

A real masterpiece!

Get Da Vinci's Secret Here

Graphics A
Sound B+
Pickup & Play A+
Overall Fun A+

Posted by oxyjen on Mar 9, 2007


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