Reviewed: December 15, 2009
Released: November 30, 2009
App Store Price: $6.99
Back in May, iPhone/Touch users were given Jules Verne’s Return to Mysterious Island. This at the time was perhaps one of the best adventure apps available on iTunes until my first love, MYST, appeared a few months later. Well Tetraedge and Chillingo have outdone themselves again by releasing Jules Verne’s Secrets of the Mysterious Island to us in all its glory.
I am a long time player of adventure titles, my reviews, can attest to that and I think that there definitely is hope for the genre with its new home on Apple’s touch devices. Old fans of the PC version as well as new comers can enjoy the titles I grew up with in a whole new way. Secrets of the Mysterious Island for those who haven’t played the PC counterpart is known as Return to Mysterious Island 2. But beyond that and the story, Secrets is a complete redesign of the PC version and not a port.
Reprising your role as Mina and Jep for the first time, you return to the “stranded” island after the helicopter that was your ticket out gets “shot down” by a volcanic eruption. It is now your job now not only to survive but delve into the secrets that surround the island. It will take both Mina and Jep's unique skills to make their way through this adventure.
Jep is good at reaching high up places as well as collecting items with his sensitive nose. He can even interact with the various animals that inhabit the island. Mina is capable of all the intricate stuff like reading documents, swimming in deep water and fishing.
Secrets of the Mysterious Island feature the same navigation system that it's predecessor which runs remarkably well on my iPhone. Looking around is incredibly fluid and I didn't run into any issues with any of the menues. Item interaction is simple and responsive as well. For those having a hard time figuring out what you can or can’t click or where to go there is an option to give you permanent help. You can disable its function but what it does is show you every direction and item you can interact with.
One of the things that I really like about Secrets is the sheer amount of inventory space you have. You have nine half screen pages to store items you pick up along the way. Items can be combined to create new ones such as a diving mask. There is one thing that could end your game if you’re not careful with your items. You must save at least 1 piece of fruit to make alcohol out of it.
Visually, Secrets of the Mysterious Island looks really good. The backgrounds are largely still images but anything that moves like the jaguar, windmill and various other creatures are nicely done. Underwater effects like air bubbles are a nice touch as you will see later on in the adventure. One of the things that I found that I really like was the moving comic book frames used to show key story points and interactions.
Sound is always a big factor in games for me. A title can look good, but the background music, sound effects and voice acting can break a title quicker than anything. Luckily Secrets excels in all three departments. The predecessor of this title didn’t offer voice at all when it first came out so when I heard Mina speak for the first time here I was thrilled. Sure Mina’s mouth doesn’t move and you can just as easily read the included text but it’s a great addition.
Jules Verne’s Secrets of the Mysterious Island is easily one of if not the biggest app on the iTunes store. Weighting in at a whopping 703.7MB it is double the size of its predecessor. So if you planning to get this one and own a smaller iTouch/iPhone and have a lot of apps or music you’ll have to clear some room. The size isn’t really that surprising considering all the voice tracks that are contained within. There is an online walkthrough link included within for those that require a nudge in the right direction as well.
My trip around the Mysterious Island was enjoyable and a breeze to play. The puzzles were solid without being annoyingly difficult and I really enjoyed playing as both Jep and Mina. I really liked the voice acting and the interactions between the various animals on the island. The ending or shall I say two endings are cool and a nice touch. I recommend Jules Verne’s Secrets of the Mysterious Island to anyone who is a fan of the PC version or anyone looking for a good adventure title for their iPhone.