2012 marked the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the RMS Titanic, a maritime disaster that saw around 1500 people lose their lives. People sadly die as a result of tragic accidents every day, but the reason why the Titanic has such a poignant legacy is perhaps because it was the result of human arrogance — not to mention there was a rather popular 1997 film. Around the time of its sinking, it was naively believed that the ship was invincible, so much so that it only came equipped with enough lifeboats to save about half of those on board; something that seems utterly baffling given our modern obsession with health and safety policy virtually everywhere you go.
GSP's Secrets of the Titanic 1912 - 2012 comes a year late to the 3DS, and while it takes a somewhat educational look at the tragedy, it sadly doesn't go into much depth, nor does it present it in an interesting way. The story follows a modern family who stupidly decide to visit a Titanic exhibition a week before setting off on their own holiday cruise.
This sends the mother, Eva, into a panic, and she constantly references the disaster throughout the curating of their trip. She even has a bit of an episode and relives moments of her great grandmother's journey on the ship through the power of daydream. However, this doesn't make the game any more exciting to play through, nor does it live up to divulging any new secrets about the Titanic, as the title suggest.
At its core, Secrets of the Titanic 1912 - 2012 is a hidden-object game, and its gameplay ties in very loosely with the subject matter. It would seem that for generations, members of Eva's family have suffered from some undiagnosed condition that makes them all terribly untidy people. Wherever they go — be it their home, car or a luxury passenger liner — it always looks like a grenade has gone off and scattered their belongings all over the place. This conveniently unexplained occurrence provides you with a suitably messy setup in each of the game's stages, and it's up to you to sift through all the clutter and find certain items.
This part of the game uses the dual-screen setup to provide two separate views of the room you're searching; on the top screen you get a full overview, whereas the bottom screen provides a zoomed-in perspective. Looking around and selecting objects can both be done using your stylus, although performing the latter is difficult when the sensitivity is so poor. The static images of the rooms you explore are at least sharp and clear, although the art style is terribly generic and the audio is as equally uninspired.
The vague object descriptions you are given at times also add to the difficulty. Looking for a T-shirt is straightforward enough, but catch-all terms like brush can prove confusing; are you meant to be looking for a paintbrush, a hairbrush or a nailbrush? You can't really fault the game for trying to make things more challenging, but this lack of detail can make certain stages a long, drawn-out affair. Otherwise, Secrets of the Titanic 1912 - 2012 is a functional, if relatively dull gameplay experience. There is absolutely no variation between each of the hidden object puzzles, and although there are other mini challenges interspersed throughout, they're incredibly basic compared to most puzzle games. As a result of this and the uninteresting story, this really won't hold your attention for very long.
Secrets of the Titanic 1912 - 2012 could have bucked the trend and provided 3DS owners with a rich and in-depth gameplay experience based on the Titanic. Instead it fails on both counts; the story doesn't cover the catastrophe in any new or meaningful light, and it all gets rather dull very quickly. Fans of hidden-object games may want to give it a try, but there are much better titles out there.