Preview: Secrets of Rætikon

Secrets of Rætikon is developed by Broken Rules, an independent game studio based in Vienna who previously developed Globe Trotters, And Yet It Moves, and Chasing Aurora. Broken Rules started the development of Secrets of Raetikon in 2011, and the game was inspired by the idea of simulating the dream of flight. The game was launched on Indiegogo, and I had the chance to try out the preview build of the game.

Plot

Secrets of Rætikon is an atmospheric, open-world, 2D exploration game set in the romantic wilderness of the Alps. Fly through savage mountains, encounter wild animal tribes, and discover the secrets of an ancient culture. As a member of the mysterious bird people, you become the pivot in the enduring struggle between nature and civilization.”

Graphics and Sound

When I first saw stills from Secrets of Raetikon, I thought it looked great, but let me tell you, this game is absolutely beautiful! The design is simplistic, but it’s the colors and shapes used in the scenery and animals that really make this game so appealing. Every area you visit is unique, and it’s the glorious aesthetics that keep you wanting to explore further.

The music is very fitting to the game’s scenery, which helps to completely absorb you in the beautiful environment, and I found the visuals and sounds incredibly relaxing. I love how pretty the animals were (the fox really made me happy!) and seeing them in the landscape (and interacting with it) really made me feel like I was a part of something living.

Gameplay

I first tried Secrets of Raetikon with a keyboard and mouse, but I did not get on with the controls. As soon as I hooked up my PS3 controller, I was much happier, as I found the controls far more accessible. I would highly recommend using a controller to get the best out of the game.

The basic controls with a controller are simple. You soar around the environment with the left stick and flap your wings with the X button. You can interact with so much of the environment by grabbing plants, rocks, and animals with R1, and you can perform a dive with L1.

As you explore the world, you collect silver pieces and runes by completing puzzles and finding hidden areas. The silvers help you unlock new levels as well as contributing to the overall goal of releasing animals trapped in cages. The runes help you to decode stone tablets, which I believe will elaborate the story.

The puzzles you encounter are fun, as you can choose your own way to solve them. I particularly liked the ones where you had to interact with animal characters. I also have to confess that I did spend quite a bit of my time grabbing rabbits and throwing them around, which proved to be strangely satisfying! You do have to be careful though, as there are some animals that will try to attack, or try to pull you into patches of thorns! Luckily, the rabbits weren’t very vicious.

Final Verdict

I really loved playing Secrets of Rætikon, and I can’t wait to play the full version. The amount of effort that’s been put in to making the tiniest things interactive is amazing, and I loved reading through the Dev Logs to see the design and development process. I would highly recommend this to anyone who would like to get lost in a visually appealing game!

Score: A+

Secrets of Raetikon is now available from Early Access on Steam, and you can also buy other versions (including a collector’s edition and soundtrack) on the official site. Follow the team on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.

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