Secret Paths to the Sea - Box

Secret Paths to the Sea
Ages 8 12

Y' know, Purple Moon spent four years researching what girls like so that they could make games that girls would enjoy playing. They concluded that girls like to know a character very deeply and want to help that friend solve her problems.

This game starts out in a light house where each girl reveals something of her own life problems. There is a cast of seven characters and their problems are varied enough to make it easy for the player to identify with one or more of them: having too many activities and feeling stressed out; losing a best friend to another girl; being asked by a friend to help cheat on an exam; having someone copy your hair style, feeling that your parents don't love you.

You select the girl and proceed onto her path to help solve her problem. By clicking on different objects and solving puzzles you gain Secret Path Stones. Clicking on these stones displays images that are meant to help a character resolve her problem. Some of these "messages" are pretty obtuse. For example, for Stephanie, who had her hair style copied the stones show:

  • Stone 1: Two girls with their arms folded across their chests.
  • Stone 2: A crane flying and plover on the beach.
  • Stone 3: A girl helping an old lady carry a package.
  • Stone 4: A girl pushing her way to the front of a group of girls.
  • Stone 5: A series of photos from baby to young girl.
  • When all five stones are collected, a necklace is created for the girl which holds a tale from around the world and which provides a "new perspective on what is happening in their lives". For Stephanie, the story is about how a crane tries to imitate a plover and only succeeds in making himself ridiculous. This section concludes with Stephanie's realization that, "I guess that the important thing to remember is that even if people try to copy me, I'm the only one that can ever be the real me"

    Your wanderings through the landscape are dreamily paced, with one puzzle for each scene. The difficulty level of the puzzles can be set. For the lowest level you are rewarded with the stones before you realize how you solved the puzzle; while the highest level set puzzles, such as duplicating a musical sequence, which are very difficult.

    Free merchandise comes with every box. Secret Paths To The Sea contains three Secret Paths Stones representing themes of love, confidence and creativity. Additional theme stones are available for sale through the Purple Moon web site which caters to a girl's love of collecting (as revealed by Purple Moon's research).

    There is little replay value. If you go back and forth in the game there is no indication that you had already solved the puzzle, so you have to resolve it again. The second time around there are no more pretty stones, only a twirling turtle.

    While the operative goal is for the girls playing the game to "help" the characters, situations are pre-determined, and the final solutions seem so simplistic that they may disappoint girls who are really looking for answers. But of course, this may be more than can reasonably expected for a game - even if it's called a "Friendship Adventure".

    Reviewed by Genevieve

  • Secret Paths to the Sea. $29.95
  • Purple Moon c 1998
  • Hybrid CD-ROM Windows 95 or 98 and Macintosh System 7.1

  • Secret Paths in the Forest - Box

    Secret Paths in the Forest
    Ages 8 - 12

    This was the first of the Secret Path series. The format is the same as the one to the Sea but with different environments and puzzles. The game starts in a tree house where the girls gather to share their thoughts and reveal their inner concerns. Once again, you help them solve their problems.

    Reviewed by Genevieve

  • Secret Paths in the Forest. $29.95
  • Purple Moon © 1997
  • Hybrid CD-ROM Windows 95 or 98 and Macintosh System 7.1