The game has the player take on the role of an orange bird that plummets out of the sky into a lush natural landscape in what the game's Steam description describes as the Alps. They have minimal tutorial instructions to guide them, along with a bunch of tablets with strange runes on them lying around. The player discovers through a bit of exploring that they have to gather tiny triangular objects called "slivers", which you then use to activate one of many mechanical statues throughout the game world, in the hopes that it will release one of seven large MacGuffins that you can use to power up an even larger machine, all the while stumbling upon runes floating in the air, which you can collect in the hopes of using them to decode the aforementioned tablets.
Oh yeah, and there's the local wildlife to contend with as well. Not all of them are immediately happy to see you.
Secrets Of Rætikon contains examples of:
- Beautiful Void: The world the player is in seems to be deserted of civilized life, and nature seems to have been left to its own devices for quite some time.
- Feathered Fiend: Some species of bird in the game seem interested in grabbing hold of you and divebombing you into the nearest spiky plant. Some just seem intent on divebombing straight into you.
- Gainax Ending: Once you collect all the MacGuffins, the tops of the animal cages turn gold and you can pull them. Pulling them up causes them to squash the animals, sending the blood to the center of the machine. The center starts to spin and suddenly turns into a game of Pong. Once the game concludes, the credits roll and you can continue playing, only to find that all of the animals in the game world are dead.
- Level Editor: Any level in the game can be tweaked in this, while original levels can be created and uploaded to the Steam workshop.
- Ominous Owl: One of the MacGuffin-dispensing statues looks like a gigantic one of these.
- Scenery Porn: Part of the appeal of this game is having a beautifully-designed ecosystem to swoop around in and explore. Hardly surprising, given the developer's past affiliation with striking visual styles.
- Video Game Flight: Comes complete with physics that allow your speed to be affected by air currents and height off the ground, along with the ability to freefall by holding LB.
- Wide Open Sandbox: There is no particular order in which to find the MacGuffin-holding statues. You have to fly around the game and discover them yourself.