Deep Town: The Twin Candles HD in Review – More Of A Stagnant Spark Than A Roaring Flame

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I’ve been a fan of G5 for a long time.  I realize they don’t actually develop the games themselves, but their logo at the beginning of an adventure was usually a guarantee of a solid game play experience.  No one is perfect, however, and for G5 it seems that Deep Town is one of their rough spots.  The premise behind the game is intriguing enough that you’ll want to press through to the end, but how you get there is a big enough mess that it might not be worth it unless you are a huge fan of adventure games.

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The basic plot of Deep Town is that you are an engineer who gets invited to work at an underwater city at the turn of the 20th century, which I guess makes this sort of a Steampunk adventure.  You arrive to find a single girl who does not seem happy to see you, and soon find that there’s a lot more going on here than you would have ever expected.  Lies, betrayal and vampirism fill out the roster in a tale that would actually make for either a decent novel or fun summer blockbuster flick.  Thankfully it works for the game as well, and between the girl, notes left throughout the complex and various other sources you get enough of the background to feel invested in the story that is taking place around you.  This is one of the bright spots of the game.

The mechanics are broken down into the typical 3 areas: object puzzles, mini games and hidden object scenes.  The object puzzles are generally fun, though on the rare occasion it is not particularly obvious what you need to do.  Still, this is by far the best part of the equation where mechanics are concerned.  While I don’t think I ever had to skip one, the mini games are quite often frustrating and many of them have a sloppy interface, making the even harder to complete.  The hidden object scenes are frequent and not a whole lot of fun.  I realize there has to be some challenge involved, but it’s often hard to tell what’s going on in certain parts of the scenes, and in several cases a majority of the object you’re looking for is hidden by stuff that you can’t move out of the way.  I pride myself on not having to use hints during the hidden object sequences of any given game, but for this one I made plenty of exceptions.  In fact, there were a couple of hidden object scenes where I had to use more than one hint.  For something that is supposed to provide a casual gaming experience, such frequent use of help shouldn’t be necessary.

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At the end of the game you are presented with three different choices, which means in theory there are three completely different endings.  The problem is that you can’t choose one and then load a save game and choose another, so you’ll actually have to play the game three times to see all the endings, which definitely isn’t worth it.  The game does offer 20 achievements, which as usual seems a bit silly for an adventure game, but even worse in this case is that several of them rely on not using any hints.  And even though to the best of my knowledge this is not considered a collector’s edition there are some extras, but those are relegated to various images, which while nice doesn’t seem all that “extra” to me.  Oh, and to top it off, when you go back to the main menu (this is the full version, mind you) you have to click off three ads in order to get access to the full menu.  Really, G5?

Aside from the story, the aesthetics are the best part of the game, for the most part.  If you disregard the hidden object scenes, which are often over-cluttered and sometimes hard to discern what is going on, the various locations in the game are quite well drawn.  The characters are also pretty good looking, which is something that often suffers in a hidden object game.  I also really enjoyed the music, which is why I would have liked to have a jukebox in the extras in addition to, or possibly in place of, some of the images.  There are various spots within the game where you can actually change up the music a bit, but it felt like the songs would revert back to whatever was playing before you entered those sub-locations.  The one portion of the aesthetics I wasn’t particularly impressed with is the sound effects.  There were basic at best, and sadly there were no voiceovers.

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The plus side of this whole experience is that I’m not rescinding my membership in the G5 fan club, at least not because of this game.  They still have so many strong offerings that I’m willing to look past this one.  However, given the premise and the looks of this game, I’m extremely disappointed in how it actually turned out.  If you’ve somehow managed to exhaust the many better hidden object adventure games that iOS has to offer, or you don’t want to have to resort to playing a game that only offers hidden object scenes, this might be worth a try.  I would definitely recommend going the “try before you buy” route if you decide to dip your toes in these deep waters, though.

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App Summary
Title: Deep Town: The Twin Candles HD (Full)Developer: G5 Entertainment
Reviewed Ver:1.0Min OS Req: iOS 7.0
Price:$6.99App Size:931.86MB
  • Interesting story
  • Nice graphics
  • Good soundtrack
  • Mini games feel buggy
  • Hidden object scenes aren’t fun
  • Have to play through three times to see all endings
  • Difficulty basically forces hints, but some achievements are based on not using hints
  • No voiceover work

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