Visiting decrepit old castles may not be everybody's idea of a good time, but over the years they've been prime destinations for would-be adventurers. Now another old keep can be again with the recent release of The Secret of Castel Lupo exclusively for iOS and Android devices.
Actually, the game's young stars aren't just visiting the titular castle in the heart of the Alps – thanks to a recent unexpected inheritance, their family owns it. Twelve-year-old twins Simon and Violet Weird weren't aware that they are the descendants of a "mad alchemist" from the 1500s, let alone that his legacy would be passed down to them. But now it has, so the two children set out to explore and discover for themselves what "bloodcurdling secret is hidden in the basement of this decayed mansion." No matter which protagonist you choose to play, or how you determine the story should advance, it turns out to be an "unforgettable holiday...as they try to outwit or outrun nasty knights, plasticine monsters, hundred year old mummies and devilish gardeners."
The Secret of Castel Lupo is primarily a text adventure, presenting detailed descriptions from which you choose your course of action by selecting highlighted words. However, you will also collect inventory items that you can use instead, or make use of each child's hobby. Simon is a chemistry genius who can mix up formulas in his science kit once he has the necessary ingredients, while spider-loving Violet has a net to help her catch wayward insects. You can only play as one child at a time, but after completing the game as the first, you can start again with the second. Rather than simply a cosmetic difference, the "puzzles and their solutions change radically", essentially creating "two completely different adventures." Either way, the castle is home to "twelve characters to interact with, thirty-five rooms full of puzzles and riddles along with some mini-games designed specifically to teach players about important moments of history."
Although designed with children eight and above in mind, with a goal of helping create a passion for reading, there's no reason why The Secret of Castel Lupo can't be enjoyed by adults as well. You can learn more about the game through its official website, or you can jump right in and check it out first-hand. A trial "lite" version exists on both iOS and Android, which offers about 20% of the complete experience. Full versions are also available at the App Store and Google Play.