The Rhaetes were an ancient tribe that lived in the Alpine highlands of eastern Switzerland and Tyrol today. Little is known about their origins and culture, except that they were conquered by the Romans 15 years before Christ’s birth, and their territories were included into the empire’s Rhaetia region.
Latin quickly displaced the local Rhaetian language, which left mostly cryptic runes behind. Clemens Scott, the game’s illustrator, based the game’s runic language on them, which serves as the axis that propels the tale in Secrets of Raetikon. Broken Rules, an independent Viennese company, delivers an astonishing production with a small – but accessible – universe that promotes unhurried exploration in the guise of a colorful bird. While flying, we look into every hole in the tree, pick up stone by stone, and dive into lakes to see if there is anything deep within that can help us comprehend the vanished civilization.
We will encounter wild creatures dwelling on the Alps’ slopes while playing; some will be indifferent to us, some will flee when afraid, but there will also be those that will viciously hunt our pet. When searching, we must keep our eyes wide open since we are practically helpless against predators. It is worthwhile to use the environment, projecting rocks or spikes, and lure foes close them to remove them. Or entice a magpie to accompany us right to the hawk’s den. We will murder one of our opponents this way. In addition to animals, we will come across inscriptions on tablets and antique mechanical constructions. We’ll start the machines after we get the correct quantity of crystals, which appears to be our major aim. But, in order not to ruin the surprise, it’s best not to tell too much. It is apparent that the Austrians drew inspiration from the famed Fez in this, as well as many other ways. It’s worthwhile to keep thinking since there are many of riddles to solve – some easier than others. For example, when I became intrigued by a little stone laying on an Alps hill. I shoved it aside and squeezed through, eventually finding a little lake deep within the mountain. Diving was useless since the water pulled me to the surface. The challenge was solved by dragging a stone and jumping into the water with it. That’s how I increased my run total. It may appear straightforward, but sometimes you have to be clever and pause to consider what to do next.
Importantly, the controls are straightforward and user-friendly. The air stream carries the colorful bird away easily. It’s tempting to say that flying is a lot of fun! The designers have definitely enhanced the game environment with additional creatures, boards, and mysteries since the early alpha version. We have a lot to accomplish, but I can’t help but feel that it’s not enough, that there wasn’t enough time to put all of the ideas into action. Some areas are deserted; we don’t know what to do with ourselves except fly when no predators are hunting us. And there are other occasions in the game that cause the gaming to last for several hours. I get that the lack of a visible interface and map adds to the immersion in the bleak environment, but it’s also annoying when we get lost again because we neglected to enter the correct hole. A little map appears to be required to help us out of danger. Especially when we return to the same sites so frequently, which gets tedious in the long run. The game is visually amazing. A fantastically colored environment inhabited by fantastic creatures mixed with old machinery, portrayed in two-dimensional visuals, inspires awe. Needless to say, it’s one of the most beautiful independent films in recent memory, and the images don’t do it justice. Secrets of Raetikon, which combines parts of a platformer with a puzzle game, does not immediately show all of its benefits. It rewards gamers who are patient and interested. On the other hand, I have the definite sensation that not all of the created world’s benefits were utilized. The finishing touch – something that would grip us – is lacking, as if the authors ran out of time.
The game is divided into three chapters, with the future installments published based on the success of the first. It’s worth a go because it’s the germ of an intriguing project that, ideally, will grow into Secrets of Raetikon over time.