If you are a lover of the television show, your time has finally come to pass!
Seeing The Mysterious Cities of Gold return is a joy, but the Japanese and French animation series has been forgotten for a while. The series’ original run ended roughly 30 years ago, and it is hard to believe that they would bring it back after so long. Alongside with a new set of episodes, comes a Wii U game which has launched on Wii U. I could give you the whole routine about how this is a licensed property, but Secret Paths doesn't deserve that label. Instead, it’s actually quite enjoyable.
The game is a lonely affaire as you are put in the shoes of Esteban, Tao and Zai. In this adventure, you switch between the three main characters and try to overcome various levels. You do this by solving puzzles, which aren't too challenging, but they are quite pleasant to play. The switching is important, because each child has a specific ability. For example, the female lead, Zai, can slip through cracks in the environment and discover out of bounds terrains. Along with the puzzles, you also have to slip by enemies. These stealth bits are easy to overcome as you simply have to stay out of the sight of the guards. There will be moments where you make a silly mistake, but you aren't punished too heavily.
There are not many issues with the adventure, though it must be said that the game is quite easy. It is not hard to get through a level and get a sense of accomplishment out of it, but some will simply not find this very engaging. The game is also not extremely varied as puzzle elements return from time to time, but these elements are never poorly presented. The way to experience it all is in smaller chunks, considering levels can be beaten in around 15 minutes. Even at that, levels will often offer more to do. Every stage offers three challenges (avoiding capture, time attack, and finding all the collectibles) and while it is possible to get them on your first try, it’s not unusual to have to replay a level. Every stage also contains an additional treasure chest, which gives you access to some extra illustrations.
The Mysterious Cities of Gold: Secret Paths is an interesting adventure game, even if it doesn't offer much variety. The levels are well designed and the game doesn't waste your time, as the ride is always filled with enjoyable cutscenes and perks. People that are not familiar with the show might be a little confused, as the game doesn't do a great job of introducing the characters. Though, you don't need to know the show to enjoy what the game has to offer. The game itself is quite gorgeous looking with pleasant voice work and music. As a start of something new, Secret Paths presents a bold step in the future for the newly improved Mysterious Cities of Gold franchise. And maybe, just maybe, you didn't pick a bad time to finally hop in.