Ferrum’s Secrets: Where is Grandpa? – Review
Follow Genre: Casual Adventure Hidden Object Game
Developer: ZigZag Soft
Publisher: Black Shell Media
Platforms: PC

Ferrum’s Secrets: Where is Grandpa? – Review

Site Score
5.4
Good: Quite pretty environments
Bad: Incoherent story, buggy at times, poor English
User Score
6.5
(2 votes)
Click to vote
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Rating: 6.5/10 (2 votes cast)

There’s a certain joy that can be found in discovering hidden objects after many minutes studying a screen, thinking that you’ve seen all. Although Ferrum’s Secrets is a good attempt at making an immersive title, it falls short of a lot of expectations that we have come to accept and rely upon in games nowadays.

Ferrum's Secrets Logo

Story

Upon entry of your grandfather’s house, you discover that the entire house has been trashed, and the housekeeper seems to have upped sticks very quickly indeed. But why? As you go deeper into the house, you find evidence to suggest that someone has kidnapped your grandfather, although you aren’t quite sure who. This quest for knowledge then takes you far and wide, from the factory of a rival to a docking station in the skies, trying to piece together the mysterious happenings that have been coincidentally occurring. The only question left is: where on earth is grandpa?

One thing that players will realise from the off is that the story makes very little sense. There is almost zero explanation for various instances, such as suddenly being in the lair of a druidic witch after finally getting into your grandfather’s study, or being on a docking station after randomly flying a biplane there. As most of the storytelling either comes from notes or dialogue that you can’t skip, it also tends to seem quite slow for the most part. With refinement, the story in Ferrum’s Secrets really could have been something quite gripping, but as it stands currently, it is rather poor.

Ferrum 1

Graphics

Made with Unity, the 3D in Ferrum’s Secrets is quite detailed, and offers some nice, brightly coloured environments for you to explore. However, the graphics make it look a lot more like it has come out of the early Noughties as the interactive objects are quite bland and, especially in the case of when you need to find hidden objects, seem to blend into their environment. This can make it quite frustrating when you need to find a key for example in amongst all of the other items piled on top of it!

The GUI in this game is a tad clunky, and often obstructs areas that you want to click on- so you have to really be careful when it comes to finding plot-specific items that are hidden in the corner, particularly when it can mean you get sent to another room as well. Clicking those objects also becomes a challenge, when the margin for getting them is so small that you might have missed it just by a pixel every time (one particular moment where this is evident is the spinning object dream-sequence- which made us feel very dizzy indeed!).

Ferrum 2

A further thing that lets this game down is the written dialogue boxes. With words being omitted completely where they shouldn’t be, to incorrect spellings, tenses and general awkwardness, it may lead the player to believing that due care and attention has not been paid to this title to ensure that there are no mistakes (although in this case, it is more of a problem of translation). All in all, Ferrum’s Secrets appears to need just that little bit more refinement to make it a better title.

Sound

There is little to say about the sound in-game, as most is atmospheric. The sound effects that exist, however, are absolutely fine for what they are, and allow you to get deeper into the world of Ferrum City. More music might have been a welcome addition, and it would also be nice if the sound did not mute itself on certain parts of the game, but these are merely suggestions for what is already satisfactory.

Ferrum 3

Gameplay

Ferrum’s Secrets: Where is Grandpa? is a Hidden Object Game with an adventure element. Controls are simple, as all you need is the left mouse button and you’re off from there. Clicking at the far ends of the screen (left, right, top and bottom) usually takes you to a new area of the environment that you are exploring, and the objects that you need will usually be hidden around there (often requiring you to complete puzzles in order to find an essential element for the story progression). If you get stuck, there is a ‘Hint’ option on the bottom right-hand side of the screen (which becomes a ‘Skip’ button when playing minigames), although at times this can be quite buggy as it gets stuck in a loop with certain puzzles. There are instances also where you have to rely on the ‘Hint’ button far too much, as the story does not always guide you as well as it should.

The minigames aren’t very well explained, which is fine for most of them as they are relatively easy, but some really are confusing and leave you scratching your head for a long time. However, what makes the game even more difficult is when you find clues on a note that you are then expected to remember, and then get right later on when only seeing them once. This is made harder by the fact that if you do get something wrong, chances are that you have to start the minigame from the beginning- even if you were right at the end. This can make the whole thing quite frustrating, and hamper your enjoyment of the game.

Ferrum 4

Conclusion

Ferrum’s Secrets: Where is Grandpa? could have been a truly great game if there had been more attention paid to the coherence of the story, and in the overall execution of the written dialogue. The graphics equally could have been improved, although they are passable for the genre. The minigames need better explanation, and the ‘Hint’ option needs checking to make sure that it works all the time (not just sporadically). All in all, this is a game that could have done with a lot more fine-tuning to make sure that you don’t lose the charm that does actually exist under all the imperfections.

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Rating: 6.5/10 (2 votes cast)
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Ferrum’s Secrets: Where is Grandpa? – Review, 6.5 out of 10 based on 2 ratings

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