Secret Files: Sam Peters is a spin-off of the popular Secret Files point-and-click adventure series.

The good news is, it's not difficult to jump into Sam Peters and get wrapped up in its story.

The bad news is the characters are grating and the game's mechanics don't translate especially well on touch devices, so you might not want to bother.

Jungle to jungle

The game begins with journalist Sam Peters attempting to escape from an Indonesian island. A volcano is erupting, the joint is slathered in molten rock, and Peters needs to repair a deflated raft to get to the mainland.

Your first job is to get her off the island so that she's not forced to take a lava bath. From there, she travels to Africa to get to the heart of a mystery regarding possible alien life.

Sam Peters is sassy, and she won't let you forget it for a second. Nearly everything out of her - thoughts included - is a snip or a quip.

Nothing wrong with a protagonist that has a bit of a bite (they're endemic to adventure games), but before long you find yourself cringing and waiting for the next remark from Sam about how some object or another reminds her of her ex-boyfriend's flaccid reproductive organ.


Granted, though story is a core element for an adventure title, there's still more to the experience.

In other words, an unlikable main character isn't enough to kill an adventure game outright as long as there are compelling puzzles.

Secret Files: Sam Peters has some decent brain teasers on-hand. Most are standard- combine item parts to make a full, functional thing, put together ripped-up pieces of paper that contain important messages, slide pictures and items into place, etc.

Some solutions are ultimately a bit weird, but that's to be expected in a puzzle game. If you're familiar with the genre, most of the solutions in Secret Files: Sam Peters won't make you throw your hands into the air in disbelief.

Touch screen troubles

That said, the in-game navigation is somewhat troubled because some of the touch-screen gestures just don't work that well. You find hotspots by dragging your finger around the screen, and before long, friction becomes an annoyance.

The real trouble, however, comes when it's time to slide items onto background objects to advance the plot. Sometimes the "action box" that triggers an item's potential is absolutely tiny, making it a drag to get stuff done.

I had a heck of a time applying a patch to the inflatable boat in the game's opening. No matter how many times I performed the action, it wouldn't move the story along until I rebooted the game.

Play it again, Sam?

Secret Files has its fans, and said fans likely already adventured with Sam Peters on the PC. They might be compelled to pick up this on-the-go adaptation, but they should be prepared to fight with the touch-based controls.

As for anyone who's simply in the market for a mobile-based adventure game with fantastic characters, a great story, and buttery controls, The Journey Down comes highly recommended.