Just to quickly bring you up to speed, this is a loose adaptation of the Corto Maltese comic books that came to life in the early 70s at the hands of the late Italian artist Hugo Pratt.
His stories followed the titular sailor and adventurer on quests around the world, and this new iOS game aims to bring you into that universe.
Secrets of Venice is clearly intended as something of a love letter to those who know the adventures of Corto Maltese, which is a mighty task when you consider the deep complexity of the character and his long, vibrant history.
A task so mighty, in fact, that Corto Maltese Secrets of Venice begins to crumble under its own weight.The Venetian blind
The entire game rests on the quality of its storyline, given that this is a conspiratorial, Dan Brown-esque adventure intended to test the limits of Corto's famously stoic and analytical prowess. In this respect, the game both succeeds and fails.
You find yourself dazed and confused, attempting to recover from an unexpected hangover late one night in a Venetian cafe.
The owner of the establishment descends upon you, initially offering coffee-based relief for your self inflicted ailment, before suddenly poisoning you in an effort to blackmail you into co-operation.
It's a completely random event that lacks any real motivation on any character's part; particularly your own, when you immediately and unquestioningly accept the events and agree to assist.
And quite why the cafe owner decided that a complete stranger, who he met not 30 seconds ago, would make for a useful, coerced ally, goes entirely unexplained.
This flimsy pretext sets you off on what would otherwise be a decent adventure to locate a collection of hidden emeralds that, when brought together, can be combined into the fabled Key of Solomon.
This is a task worthy of Corto, even if it flounders badly in terms of its introduction and motivations.
So right from the start your enjoyment of Corto Maltese Secrets of Venice really hinges on how forgiving you are when it comes to weak story structuring and trite dialogue, and this is make or break stuff in this type of adventure game.
The view from Venice
While the writing could cause a lot of people problems, no one is likely to find issue with the artwork. It's a skilful combination of styles, some of which harken back to the original comic books to help offer interstitial plot points and (often excessive) exposition.
Others are detailed pieces of minimalist animation, intricate 3D models and superb environmental effects that give a subtle depth to rooms and locations by shifting your perspective ever so slightly.
These various works of art are tied into the gameplay quite neatly. Shifting the location perspective reveals items you can tap to learn more about, or engage with hidden object style, while some puzzles are more like The Room, with beautifully tangible objects that you interact with intimately to discover their purpose.
A purpose that's hard to tell you too much about, lest we spoil the stumbling story. And that makes Corto Maltese Secrets of Venice something of a dichotomy in terms of scoring.
If you're likely to skip all the talking and exposition, and are happy to just work through the wild array of puzzles, there's a great game waiting for you here.
If you're any kind of Corto Maltese fan, or crave the plot that's supposed to pin the puzzles together, the inadequate script could break your concentration, and the game along with it.