Dead Secret review – they’ll die to keep it a secret

Dead Secret – Overview

Where to begin with Dead Secret. At its core is a murder mystery, that has you solving puzzles and finding documents to figure out what happened and who did it. In this regard, it succeeds. It’s a neat story with clever writing and some light but fun puzzles.

Where it doesn’t succeed, however, is in the gameplay. However, does its shortcomings outweigh the good? It’s a tough choice, and this game is another example of why we should have a Neutral/Indifferent option instead of just Recommended or Not Recommended.

The game looks decent for what it is. Nothing is spectacular, but the environment is appropriately creepy, and there is lots of little attention to detail. There aren’t much in the way of character models, but the few that you do see often are well made.

Sound effects are good and get the job done, and the music brings home just how weird this investigation is, both of which bring out the world just a little bit more. The main character, Patricia, is poorly voiced, however. She also sounds like a robotic voice at times, reading text you typed into those old black and white box Macintosh computers.

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Gameplay, movement especially, is not so good. You’re limited to walking on pre-set paths, and pressing W or D causes your character to look up or down, for some reason. This is likely due to the VR aspects of the game, but it feels weird when not playing in VR. Movement is also ridiculously slow, which is most apparent when you find the secret area of one person. It’s a slog. Inventory use is done by moving your mouse to look at the various items, and to grab the one you want to use. Also a byproduct of VR, but feels clunky and weird as a regular game.

The story is definitely the focal point of this game, and it’s well done. Unlike many games, I was actually invested in reading all of the notes and documents, and wanted to collect all of them to figure out the story. It’s a great story, with a nice ending.

 

Speaking of endings, there are five of them. Two of them can be accomplished by playing the game, and three are given at the very end. They’re all extremely easy to get, all can be accomplished in one playthrough, and when you do get one, the game resumes at that very scene, which explains the simplicity in getting all five. Basically there is a great, good, and bad ending, followed by two more. I won’t spoil it, but you’ll figure it out.

Dead Secret is also very short, and unless you get stumped on a puzzle (which you shouldn’t), you can finish it in under two hours, and that includes all five endings.

Pros

  • Good story with clever writing
  • Light puzzles that might make you think a little, but aren’t challenging
  • Neat environment
  • Lots of notes to read and collect, which give great backstory
  • Mostly good audio design

Cons

  • Odd movement and clunky gameplay
  • Very short
  • No replay value

Summary

Dead Secret has a great story with some great writing and exploring, but is hampered by being extremely short and not that well optimized for non-VR play. I just barely recommend the game, but with one caveat: get it on sale or in a bundle. At full price, it’s just too short of an experience to justify.

Recommend/Not Recommend: Recommended

Read more of my reviews here, or head on over to Steam to check them out.