4:33 Creative Lab put some work into promoting their new title Secret of Chateau de Moreau prior to its release.  That combined with its overwhelmingly positive focus group feedback and extensive data testing made this a hotly anticipated title.  Of course, building up hype is a double-edged sword—if the game can’t live up to the hype once it hits the streets, the negative vibe spreads fast.  So did the devs overplay their hand with this one.

Don’t think so.  Secret of Chateau de Moreau is probably the best adventure/mystery title in the App Store right now.  It’s a story with a classic feel presented in a beautifully designed game that has all the makings of an instant classic itself.  Adventure genre games are ideally driven by a story that sucks you in, and Secret of Chateau de Moreau has this nailed.  The story itself is a traditional whodunit, packed with updated plot twists and complicated by mysteries within mysteries that will leave players guessing.  The story gets its hooks in you from the start—pay attention to opening scenes of the game, folks.  Antoine Moreau, the main character, needs to start gathering clues from the get-go.  If, that is, you plan to prove your innocence, claim the fortune left to you by the late Count Moreau, and reveal the real killer.

As the title of the game and the title of the deceased suggest, you’ll be making your way around a castle to solve these mysteries.  Antoine will have to navigate a pretty vast environment, including the three story chateau, its grounds, and a tower on the grounds to gather the necessary information and solve the 100+ puzzles built into the game.  The controls are spot on, giving you simple menus for exploration, adding objects to your inventory, and interacting with the various NPCs throughout the game.

Secret of Chateau de Moreau offers challenge after engaging challenge in a polished, detail-heavy, beautifully designed environment.  Besides solving puzzles and gathering clues, Antoine will need to move carefully through a world of intrigue—every decision and interaction will affect your chance to win and how the win (or loss) plays out. There are over 40 alternate endings, which adds to the authenticity of the immersive narrative.  While stepping into story driven games sometimes feels like being taken for a ride, that’s not at all the case with Secret of Chateau de Moreau. You’re in the driver’s seat—for better or worse.

Another reason the game makes such a great impression is its visual presentation.  Detailed illustrations in a gorgeous period style blended with anime inspiration complete the feel of this dark mystery and bring the story to life.  The audio is also well-executed for a game of this type, with realistic sound effects enhancing the overall impact.

Secret of Chateau de Moreau is priced at $4.99.  Considering the price of comparable PC or console games (and this one’s probably better), it’s a great deal. You can download it here: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/the-secret-chateau-moreau/id456142869?mt=8

Lite Version: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/lite-the-secret-chateau-moreau/id456145663?mt=8

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