In a world of seemingly endless iterations of copycat puzzle games, Big Fish Games’ Hidden Expedition: Everest has some intriguing qualities that will challenge you while also providing a unique educational experience at the same time.
HE: Everest is actually a sequel to Hidden Expeditions: Titanic. However, this earlier release was never published for the Macintosh platform. The earlier game took the player down into the depths of the ocean seeking treasure in the wreck of the RMS Titanic, which sank on its maiden voyage in 1912, killing approximately 1,500 people. HE: Everest goes the opposite direction, taking you on an exploration of the world’s tallest mountains and the culture and geography of those who climb them.
Exploring Mount Everest — the tallest mountain on Earth — is an interesting concept, which is made all the more exciting by the presence of Ed Viesturs. Viesturs is well known among mountain climbers. He was the first American to climb to the summit of Everest. In fact, he’s climbed the famous mountain six times, along with all the other mountains in the world that stand 8,000 meters or more above sea level.
The game includes many video clips from Viesturs’ 1998 film, Everest, which documents his challenging 1996 climb of the mountain with an international team of mountaineers. If you’re interested, you can find details about the making of the movie in Into Thin Air, a book by Jon Krakauer.
Gameplay in HE: Everest is quite similar to Gamehouse’s Little Shop of Treasures. Most of the game features landscapes basically filled with piles of junk from which you must pick out certain key items, such as chop sticks, swords, climbing gear and skulls. Each level also contains five hidden jewels. If you find all five, you get a bonus hint.
The story of the game is that you are trying to find a shortcut up Everest. You play against three other computer-player teams, the Scholars, the Scarlet Hats and the Gamers. In order to overcome the other teams, you have to get through levels as quickly as possible — but with a minimum of clicks. If you click too much trying to find objects in the levels, the game gives your opponents the advantage.
On the other hand, each junk-pile level contains a secret item. If you happen to click on it, you get a bonus. So a little extra clicking can actually be good.