In “Secrets of Rætikon”, (Ra-tih-kon, apparently, before you ask.) you play as this little feathered guy. (He’s hiding in the screenshot.) You traverse the world through flight and subtle tutorial messages as you search for small triangular pieces. These are used in conjunction with towers. providing you, for a nominal fee, of course, with Shards. They are the crucial pieces of the game, serving as keys to unlocking what I presume to be a vault.
The game is, for the most part, calm and charming. But the fight for survival is still very much a part of the game with many environmental hazards, predators seeing you as dinner and other creatures as competition to be dealt with. This juxtaposition is fun, as one moment you can be gliding swiftly on an air current over a mountain top with “Ecco the Dolphin” style movement, the next fleeting moment being pursued within an inch of your life while desperately lugging a shard around underneath you, counter-balancing for its weight. It definitely has a “You against the world” vibe to it.
At first I thought predators were an additional way to heal as opposed to uprooting saplings or dropping rocks/skulls from high heights to crack them open. Then I realised he was less interested in the fish I’d brought him and more so with me. Feeling stupid, I tried fighting back by dipping him in the drink, only for him to start tearing into me again. I figured I’d leave as he was figuratively, and literally, eating me for breakfast. Though in my panic, I dropped the fish, only for the predator to come back to kill it. So I guess I was half right, considering the fish dropped a slither of health.
It’s worth mentioning that you cannot attack in this game. You must use your agility to cause any potential threat to run into the ground, or, better yet, into another predator as they’ll soon forget about you. Once an enemy begins to bleed, they become pacified. They’ll no longer attack and will actively flee from you if chased. Not that you could kill them if you wanted to. This makes encounters with threats more engaging as fights are either dogfights as you flip and dash past each other, or a desperate escape while being pursued, especially when carrying something.
Throughout the game you’ll find stone tablets with runic writing. Hidden in crevices around the world are translations for individual symbols. I’m not sure if the tablets will turn to English upon finding all the runes necessary to translate the message, but regardless this makes finding a rune genuinely exciting as it pushes you that little bit closer to discovering something. Who knows? But it only grows more intriguing with each find.
The art style is astoundingly beautiful, the gameplay is smooth and I’m genuinely curious about the game’s namesake. I heartily recommend this.
So… What are you waiting for? Seek the Secrets of Rætikon.