The first thing to know about Secrets of the Vatican HD is that you shouldn’t be scared away by the title. This game has nothing to do with damaging revelations about church abuse cover-ups. Instead, it’s set during World War 2, and you’re tasked with finding the pieces of the Spear of Destiny that was used during the Crucifixion.
This cursory setup is enough to get you started on a brief and fairly forgettable adventure. You’ll scan your way through finely detailed scenes set in Rome, Paris, Istanbul, and Berlin, locating whatever objects the scene requires. Instead of bizarre, out-of-place objects like kittens and hamburgers in the sky like in Amazon: Hidden Expedition and other hidden object games, the scenes are generally respectful of the churches and religious artwork they depict.
Ring around the rosaries.
Some of the more interesting hidden object scenes involve religious paintings, which lend the game a Da Vinci Code-style sense of mystery. At the same time, there are adventure-themed scenes like a hidden catacomb with traps to expose, or a church filled with warheads to disarm. None of the scenes are too outlandish, though, and some are as simple as a garden filled with leaves and insects.
Unfortunately, the game seems to end just when you think it’s getting started. Instead of a lengthy, absorbing historical adventure like Broken Sword, this game is good for only an hour at the most. Replay value is limited as well, although you can try your hand at a timed mode to eek out another hour of gameplay.
This lovely church has been defiled!
Secrets of the Vatican HD is too short even by hidden object game standards. If the price of this game ever comes down, it might be a decent way to spend a buck or two if you love to pore over religious art while chasing down a legendary artifact. Otherwise, spring for the sillier, but more engaging, Amazon: Hidden Expedition.