The Secret Order 5: The Buried Kingdom
Gameplay 8
Graphics 8
Sound 8

Although The Secret Order 5: The Buried Kingdom ditches the time traveling elements of the previous titles, it still offers some solid puzzles, mini games and hidden object scenes. This time the adventures of Sarah Pennington take her to a legendary buried kingdom on a quest to save her friend from the sinister Dragon Clan. The setting for The Buried Kingdom is more fantasy themed than the fourth installment, but features the same imagination and attention to detail that has made this series such a hit with fans. The Buried Kingdom doesn’t really advance the overall plot of the series much, but since it is such a self-contained adventure, it is also more accessible to newcomers who are unfamiliar with previous installments.

Gameplay: Plenty of puzzles, mini games and hidden object scenes for players to sink their teeth into.

Graphics: Lots of detailed hand-drawn locations that feature plenty of imaginative touches.

Sound: The music is good and the voice acting is decent too

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The Secret Order 5: The Buried Kingdom

Developer: Sunward Games | Publisher: Artifex Mundi | Release Date: 2017 | Genre: Hidden Object Puzzle Adventure | Website: Official Website | Purchase: Steam

After all the ordeals of her previous adventures, Sarah Pennington finally decides to take some time off from saving the world and thwarting the plans of the evil Dragon Clan. Her fellow members in the Griffin Order decided to ban time travel due to all the trouble it has caused in the past, which means Sarah finally has some free time. Unfortunately, Sarah decides to spend this free time reconnecting with family and friends, including a fellow explorer named Julie who discovered the location of the legendary Buried Kingdom. Sarah is supposed to accompany her friend on the expedition to the site, but when Julie is kidnapped by the Dragon Clan, it turns into a rescue mission instead.

Although The Secret Order 5 is a continuation of the series and stars the same protagonist, you don’t actually need to have played the previous titles to understand what is going on. It obviously helps to be familiar with the story so far, but The Buried Kingdom feels more like a self-contained adventure and is also a bit of a departure for the series in terms of style and locations. In addition, the game focuses a bit less on story this time round and instead lets you get on with the task of solving puzzles and finding hidden objects. The game does retain some of the familiar elements, of course, including the sidekick helper, which in this case is a small dragon named Droi. Unlike Nubi, the sidekick in the previous game, Droi can only perform two actions; fetch things that are too high for Sarah to reach and burn stuff. Since most of the skills Nubi had were very underutilized in the previous game, it doesn’t matter that much that Droi only has two. Sarah also has a new gadget in the form of a dragon eye artifact that, after being charged up by completing a mini-game, is able to show her visions of the past in certain locations.

The setting and abundance of dragons in The Buried Kingdom give it even more of a fantasy feel compared to previous titles in the Secret Order series. It feels like there are less characters to interact with than before, but once again this isn’t necessarily a bad thing for players who simply want to get on with the puzzles and hidden object scenes. Speaking of hidden object scenes, there are close to twenty of them to complete and thankfully none of them are repeated. These scenes also feature some nice variety and sometimes you’ll be hunting down objects from a list while other times you have to click on items in the right sequence or find all the correct parts to a bigger piece. In addition, there are more than 30 mini games to conquer, although a few of them crop up multiple times and many are variations on ones that we’ve already seen in previous games. Neither the mini games or hidden object scenes are too difficult, but hint as well as skip buttons are still available to players who find themselves struggling. All of the mini games and hidden object scenes can also be replayed from the “Extras” menu on the title screen as well.

Visually the game continues the high standard set by previous titles and in total there are close to forty different locations to explore, all of which are hand-painted and very detailed. The fact that the game has dropped the time traveling elements doesn’t seem to have handicapped the artists either as the scenes still show a lot of imagination and style. Each scene also hides at least one dragon egg to discover for players who want to earn all the achievements in the game. The art still isn’t as high resolution as we would have liked and can still look a little fuzzy when played in fullscreen, but overall everything looks good. Players who are fond in dragons will be particularly pleased with this game as they are featured throughout. We quite enjoyed the soundtrack too, and it’s nice to see that the “Extras” menu offers the chance to listen to the individual tracks. The voice acting in the game is decent; once again there are some characters who sound good and others a little less so, but nothing that detracts from the experience. The interface is the same as the one used by other titles in the series and includes all the helpful features, such as a map for fast traveling and a journal for keeping track of objectives. The Buried Kingdom also has an obligatory bonus chapter that is set after the events of the main game. It doesn’t really add much to the story, but features a handful of new locations and some closure for the characters.

Players expecting another epic storyline and a continuation of the time traveling adventures of Sarah Pennington might be a little disappointed by the change in direction of The Buried Kingdom. It feels less like a Secret Order title, but this definitely doesn’t make it a bad game. In fact, we enjoyed the increased focus on puzzles, mini-games and hidden object scenes. The fact that the story is so self contained also makes it suitable for players who are not familiar with previous titles in the series to jump in without getting confused. Overall, this is another great title from Sunward Games and one that all fans of the genre should check out.

System Requirements

  • OS: Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 10
  • Processor: 2.0 GHz
  • Memory: 1 GB RAM
  • Graphics: 256 MB VRAM
  • Storage: 2 GB available space
  • OS: Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 10
  • Processor: 2.5 GHz
  • Memory: 1 GB RAM
  • Graphics: 512 MB VRAM
  • Storage: 2 GB available space
  • OS: 10.6.8
  • Processor: 2.0 GHz
  • Memory: 1 GB RAM
  • Graphics: 256 MB VRAM
  • Storage: 2 GB available space
  • OS: 10.6.8
  • Processor: 2.5 GHz
  • Memory: 1 GB RAM
  • Graphics: 512 MB VRAM
  • Storage: 2 GB available space
  • OS: Ubuntu 12.04 (32/64bit)
  • Processor: 2.0 GHz
  • Memory: 1 GB RAM
  • Graphics: 256 MB VRAM
  • Storage: 2 GB available space
  • OS: Ubuntu 12.04 (32/64bit)
  • Processor: 2.5 GHz
  • Memory: 1 GB RAM
  • Graphics: 512 MB VRAM
  • Storage: 2 GB available space

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