Games have an extraordinary habit for linking fairly rudimentary tasks to the most elaborate of plots.
Believe it or not, but matching three coloured balls is rarely enough to free a magical kingdom from the shackles of tyranny and picking up scores of gold coins is unlikely to win over that princess you've had your eye on.
Secret of the Lost Pyramid is flooded with such hokum. It's nothing more than a simple card game transformed into an attempt to uncover the truths of the Mayan empire. At least, that's what the game would have you believe: reams of text introduce each level coming with too much flim-flam, in truth.Pyramid plots
Whether or not you choose to indulge the game's backstory, it's actually fairly easy to play. It shares much in common with family-favourite card game Uno, the idea being to rid yourself of a hand of Mayan-themed tiles before your opponent manages to do so first.
Taking turns to place one tile at a time, the idea is to match the preceding tile either in terms of colour or pattern. If you're without an appropriate tile to play, picking up another one is the only option. The trick being to create chains that allow you to rid yourself of scores of tiles, one after the other.
Of course, Secrets of the Lost Pyramid spices things up as the levels move forward: special power-up tiles become increasingly important as the Mayan masters become more devious. The trick with these tiles is to use them to block your rival at every turn, some forcing him to take on board extra tiles, miss a turn, or change the base colour.
When combined, they have the power to sweep your opponent away in quick time. Find them being used against you, however, and you quickly find your own heady plans brought crashing down to earth.Conquering the gods
That's the beauty of it: some games swing wildly back and forth, while others are over in a matter of seconds. Even if you feel hard done by, two taps later you're back in a match, a winning return just as likely as successive defeats.
Yet there's no denying that Secrets of the Lost Pyramid is Uno by another name. It's not particularly original and, in certain respects, its Mayan setting actually walks it a step back. The big grandiose setting, for instance, doesn't actually translate into a majestic campaign mode. Our Mayan friends were conquered within half hour so on a good day.
Also frustrating is the fact that the Quick Play mode - which cannily flips play on its head by encouraging you to hold out for as long as you can to build up a high score - can't be accessed until the campaign has been completed.
It's an odd set-up, considering Secret of the Lost Pyramid naturally lends itself to quick bursts of play rather than lengthy sessions.
Still, if card matching games are to your liking, then it delivers. While any of the mobile takes on Uno might well be a better bet, Secret of the Lost Pyramid remains a peak worth conquering.