The first episode of Radiant One was really enjoyable with the intriguing narrative, the astral projection, the supernatural elements. However, the developer's announcement that they would change the current game into a subscription model worried a lot of people, even though it is quite reasonable for companies to turn their game into a model that looks like a Netflix series as the potential of the gaming industry seems to be up in the air. Does it work? Let's have a look at The Secret - the newest Radiant One episode - to find out.

There is a brief and detailed first information about this subscription model. In general, it costs $2.99 per month. Especially, if you have already had episode one (Now titled The Awakening) in hand, the second one would be free for you. Right now they are on sale and you could buy them for $4.99, but this is only for a limited time. If you miss it, then you will have to pay $5.99 for each one.

It would take you one to two hours to finish one episode. If an episode would launch frequently every month, there would be nothing to complain about the price; $2.99 is pretty reasonable for that amount of content. Otherwise, though, having to pay almost $6 to play for one hour seems to be quite expensive.

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Rachel, the main character, is dealing with her anxiety in a mysterious mansion

The main character of this episode is a woman named Rachel. She awakes in a strange mansion which is filled with monsters lurking in the dark. More specifically, those monsters ARE the dark.  They take the form of black shadows and will grow as Rachel's anxiety increases. Her mission is to solve the puzzles around the mansion while at the same time avoid the monsters here. If she makes any minor mistake in the process, the monsters could spot her location and come to her. This game is considered to be a point-and-click adventure with some added puzzle factors. A little bit of backstory about our heroine: Before arriving at this mansion due to a last-minute call from work, she was in Hong Kong. She often struggles with her anxious feelings that she wants everything in her work to be perfect, and had even gone so far as to kill her own happiness for that sake.

While the first episode consisted of astral projection, The Secret takes inspiration from time travel. Still, the existence of supernatural is being presented heavily in this second episode, as well as the mental illness manifesting in physical shapes. It makes mere existence and life seem to be impossible sometimes.

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Rachel needs to find clues from her past and childhood

The main gameplay of The Secret revolves around environment puzzle-solving. Its concept is escaping rooms surrounded by shadow monsters that she needs to avoid. For instance, Rachel in the first level has to look for the key to a drawer in order to pry wood off a closet (there are multiple keys too, so she needs to be able to find the right one). After that, she needs to grab a spray bottle from inside the closet in order to extinguish a fire, then crawl across the fireplace to an alcove. Then the higher levels continue just like that. As you progress, it will become more and more difficult to stay away from the monsters that manifest in her thoughts.

Sometimes, Rachel needs to focus on doing something. There appears a bar that is in white color in the bottom, and you need to follow by staying ahead of the marked spots, staying over it. This mechanic is pretty similar to the fishing activity in Stardew Valley. Let's call it the "concentration bar" as it shows up whenever Rachel needs to concentrate, using her all energy, on a task. However, this concentration is not predictable. It would fleet if it is burdened with fears and nervousness, which the movement of the bar would represent.

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Sometimes there's a "concentration bar" that you must follow in order to progress

This new episode has something different compared to its predecessor. It is a little bit hard to identify the difference between the two here. Rachel is filled with anxiety, which many people could relate to. We probably have all struggled with professionalism and anxiety at some point in our lives, to the point where we put off what we need to do for months because we think we're not good enough to do it perfectly. Rachel’s story is kind of a reflection of all that.

But the biggest difference is not about the game changing to the subscription model, or episodic, it turns out to be the addition of micro-transactions. There is a premium currency that you can purchase: gems. Rachel could be untouchable in one level by using 5 gems. You could also keep the helpful cat named Hank around for 20 gems. However, this part makes the game feel less immersive. It's hard to remain focused on the current circumstance at hand when there is a light gumbull machine constantly appearing to asks you to pay cash. It also somehow gives you anxious feelings, making you wonder if you need to pay money for that or not. A game about mental illness would somehow harm your mental condition, quite ironic, really.

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You could spend some gems to make the task you must overcome easier

More episodes are confirmed to be coming in the future. After The Secret, there would be The Avalanche, then The Eclipse and last but not least, The Enlightenment. It is fascinating to anticipate how the storyline would be after this newest episode. However, one thing is for certain: the game’s narrative is supreme. It saves The Secret from being a useless part by this new subscription model version. The new purchase model, or episodic subscription, along with the micro-transactions have made this episode lack the level of connection that the first one had. This is quite upsetting as both episodes are quite enjoyable and relatable.