Review: The Mysterious Cities of Gold: Secret Paths

Like it’s source material, the The Mysterious Cities of Gold has been missing for a long time, yet due to the unique atmosphere and quality of the original series it has long been requested to return by fans. With a recent second series being commissioned and aired, the release of a new game is the icing on the cake for fans or, as it turns out, puzzle fans as well.

A single player only game, The Mysterious Cities of Gold sees you controlling the three protagonists of the series; Esteban, Tao (and his parrot Kokapeti) and Zai exist to allow for the primary gameplay mechanism of switching between the three to solve puzzles. Each character has a specific ability and by using each of their abilities, you will make your way across a wealth of environments constantly switching between the three heroes, solving puzzles and stealthily avoiding enemies that block your way.

Mysterious Cities of GoldThe mechanics work well, the cel-shaded graphics of the characters pop against the varied levels (a special mention must go to the slick animation) and the mix of pleasing touch-based controls and GamePad controls offer options to suit most gamers. The only thing that may irk are the puzzles. Many of the settings gradually increase in difficulty, with more elaborate puzzles and more guards, but the major flaw comes from the puzzle mechanics being the same throughout the whole of the game. Because of this I found tedium tended to develop during long gaming sessions. I did enjoy everything more when using the GamePad for short, off-TV gaming sessions and coupled with the slick controls, relaxing (yet looping) Eastern-inspired soundtrack and repetitive puzzles, The Mysterious Cities of Gold became much more pleasant in this manner. It is no wonder that the title also sits on mobile app stores too as it seems perfect for mobile gaming (A 3DS port is coming shortly as well).

Echoing the ‘mobile’ nature of the title, stages tend to last around 10-15 minutes and the settings interweave with snippets of the new anime, which look beautiful. Unfortunately heavy slicing of the anime reduces the quality as it skips in and out of major plot points too abruptly – simply to move the story along. More in-depth video sections would have been a better incentive for completing levels.

Mysterious Cities of GoldAfter 20 levels you will come to a point where you reach the end and can’t play anymore in order to avoid spoilers for plot points that haven’t aired in the new series yet, however the developer has noted that they will offer a free update in the future to complete the story. How irksome this is depends on your preferences – what is currently present offers plenty of bang for your buck but some gamers may want to wait until the package is complete before purchasing – especially as further European languages will be added in a future update.

Aside from completing the main levels, each level offers a little more for completionists offering three trials such as time trials, avoiding capture by enemies and finding all of the collectable scrolls. There is also a hidden treasure chest on each stage that rewards you with concept art and illustrations. More hidden chests and varying rewards would have been great for fans of the series and another incentive to keep on playing.

The Mysterious Cities of Gold: Secret Paths is a title that requires you to use mental agility to get through most of the puzzles and avoid enemy patrol patterns. The presentation is slick and it features “that” theme tune as well as some great voice acting, animation and solid controls. To fans of the series I would recommend it as a smooth way to jump back into the world of Esteban, Tao and Zai and if you are new to the series you could do much worse than to start here.

N-Europe Final Verdict

If you are looking for an enjoyable top-down puzzler, you won’t go too far wrong with the Mysterious Cities of Gold: Secret Paths. However, repetitive puzzles hold this back from being a must-have title.

  • Gameplay3
  • Playability4
  • Visuals4
  • Audio3
  • Lifespan3
Final Score



THAT Theme Tune is present
Wonderful animation
Nice variety of settings
Varied control options


Repetitive puzzles become tiresome
Currently awaiting more chapters
Could have tapped into a wonderful OST

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