Undercover – Secret Management

Undercover – Secret Management

Undercover – Secret Management is the second installment in the latest supernatural thriller series, Undercover, published by GameHouse. The central character of the series is Veronica – a feisty journalist whose sister mysteriously disappears one night. Instead of waiting for the police to do their slow investigation work, Vera decides to take matters into her own hands and go undercover as a barista for the club where her sister Lilly was last seen. Once successfully infiltrated there, she discovers that Lilly was transformed into a vampire and joined their ranks, leaving her human life behind.

The story of Undercover – Secret Management picks up at this exact spot, and the plot is extended with some new murders committed in town, in which the vampire coven is potentially involved. While trying to escape the vampires’ web of intrigue, Vera attempts to reason with Lilly as the new manager of one of the most influential vampire nightclubs by appealing to her humanity through their sisterly bond.

While the first game is aimed at introducing the various characters in this universe (as Vera makes new friends as well as enemies along the way) and ends rather abruptly, Secret Management’s story is more fleshed out and gives a new depth to these characters, revealing their background stories and unexpected identities – although it still ends with major cliffhangers for all plotlines. The writing in the second game makes sure that everything the player needs to know about the events of the first game is already explained during the first few levels through character interactions, thus having played the first game before diving into Secret Management is not a must. On the other hand, playing Blood Bonds alone without its current sequel feels more like watching just the first episode of a lengthy series and will only leave you hanging and wanting for “more”. I played both games back-to-back, and I’m really glad to have done so for the narrative continuity.

Regarding the gameplay, this is the typical GameHouse game in its simplified version (no location or item upgrades). Vera works as a barista in various clubs where her investigation leads her. There she fulfills customer orders, bills them and cleans the tables they used. Because of having fewer items to handle in one location, Blood Bonds gave me the impression that it was meant to be one of the easier GameHouse games. On the contrary, the second installment of the series goes back to the standard difficulty or even slightly higher than that considering that in some locations multiple dishes have to be cooked under a timer are usually situated in opposite corners of the room and one customer often orders several of them in one go. The pathing here is thus much more important than in the first game, or rather than in pretty much any other GameHouse game. On the other hand, in both Undercover games, there are fewer levels than usual (60 compared to 90 which is the standard for Delicious games) because there are no intermediate / secondary levels. The requirements to grind extra levels for the last few achievements post-game have also been removed and now all achievements can be unlocked in one go, without having to replay any level (as long as you complete all their respective tasks).

Undercover – Secret Management takes between eight to ten hours to complete, and it’s a very enjoyable ride due to its compelling story and addictive gameplay. Like all other GameHouse games, there are three difficulty options, unique minigames for each location, and a special scene where you can spend the diamonds earned from completing levels to decorate Vera’s desk.

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