Nevertales: The Beauty Within
There are plenty of options to choose from on this one, with separate sliders for Music, Ambient sounds, Effects, and Voice, plus full-screen, aspect correction, and custom cursor. Whee~! At the top right of the options menu is a ?, which will give you some useful information at a glance. Helpful for the newbies to the genre, for certain.
We have FOUR difficulty settings to choose from: Casual Reader, Bookworm, Scholar, and my favorite, Choose Your Own!!
Custom settings, my FAVORITE!
Rather than type it all out, I'll show you what the custom options are:
AND even better, the difficulty can be changed at any time during gameplay. These aren't the options I chose, by the way, just the basics when I looked
Now that we have the technical stuff out of the way, wow. Just wow. I've never seen a game start this way. Not ever. I didn't read the description of the game before I started, so I was blindsided.
Using a HINT during the adventure portion of the game will give you a directional arrow without discharging your hint.
The task bar is retractable, and can be locked in a open position, if you wish. Items in the task bar with circle underneath them need some kind of interaction. Click on the items to zoom in and see what needs to be done. You may have to open a box to see what's inside, or combine with something else in your inventory.
The journal is a cell phone, and is extremely
important to your gameplay. It's located on the bottom right side of the screen, and there are multiple tabs to click on: Notes
, which has no spoilers, and records the all-important things you MUST know to solve puzzles (many of which I'd forgotten about!) This also shows you how long you've been playing; Map
, which is interactive if you've chosen it to be (in the custom settings) and DOES have a jump-to option (you can also access the map without going through the cell phone -- just look slightly to the left of the cell phone button); To-do List
, which I never used; and Achievements
, of which there are 3 tiers, with a total of 24 possible.
We have a helper by the name of Gears. Gears the owl. What a cutie he is! Don't be thrown off by the word 'cute' here -- We don't have a lot of interaction with Gears, only when there's something out of our reach (nice not to have to find a ladder every time!
) Despite Gears and the adorable character we meet at the beginning of the game, this game is not saccharine in the least. Cute moments, but definitely not the primary (or even secondary!) thrust of the story!
The characters are colorful, and very well voiced. I was surprised to see two cutscenes with singing (à la Disney,) but I can forgive those short lapses
There are a multitude of ways that we interact with the game. We interact with books in two ways: The first is where we have the narrator read a line of two, then we find a couple of items hidden on the page to progress the story and have more read. In the end we get a new item. An excellent way to keep the players interested in the story! The second kind is where we open a book, and there's a hollow space inside. We then need to find fragmented objects across the scene (don't close the book!) and when you find the final piece, you have an item to help you on your way.
We have a couple of different kinds of actual hidden object scenes. There are your "typical" interactive HOS -- Items listed in white can be found right away, yellow items are under/behind something, green items need interaction. There's a HOS type where every time you find something, you see sparkles. Sparkles?
I had sparkles turned off!
It took me a few moments to realize that it's because every listed item we find has something hidden behind it, and the sparkles are to let us know that we need to grab these pieces. It's actually a good thing in this case, trust me! The last kind of HOS has four locked tabs at the bottom. We have to unlock each box with whatever shape you see (ie. keys, spades, etc.) to see the lists. Once you find all four items on a tab, you'll find an item hidden behind it, which you will have to place in the scene. Place all four items to finish the scene. Highly interactive, I love it! These scenes were so interesting that I didn't want to use a hint AT ALL!
Mini-game instructions can be found in the bottom right corner of the screen.Collector's Edition content
- Bonus Chapter
- Integrated Strategy Guide
- 45 roses
- 28 Morphing items, found in the hidden object puzzles
- 8 Downloadable Music Tracks
- 6 Concept Art, showing before and after (for a total of 12 pics)
- 10 Wallpapers (NOT just glorified screens from the game!)
- 28 replayable HO Puzzles (tracks time and accuracy!)
- Sugar Rush
The bonus is told from another character's point of view, and takes place after the main game ends. Be sure to keep an eye out for roses, there are still 11 to find! You get to the chapter by hitting the 'Play' button once you've finished the main game.
Instead of having a helper, you will see that there's something else in that space. Keep an eye on it, you'll need to click it, then click the screen to accomplish some actions!
This is one of the best bonus chapters I've ever played, with the content just as interesting and fun to play as the main game.
There is a point where we had a choice to make, and I have no idea what would happen if I had made the opposite choice. Will have to see next time I play~!
Just a note that there is one mini in the bonus chapter that requires dexterity (and/or great patience,) and that the final puzzle was timed, in a manner of speaking. You have to accomplish something whilst being attacked, and these attacks undo a bit of your progress, so faster is better.Hidden Chapters and Roses
The hidden chapters are unlocked when you find all 45 roses -- 37 in main game and 11 in the bonus chapter. The game brilliantly tracks your rose findings, and you'll see them in the bottom left corner of the screen (underneath Gears the Owl.) If the rose there is gray, you still need to find the rose on your current location. If you click on the rose at any time during gameplay, it will pop up showing ALL of the roses to be found. Found roses are red, unfound are gray, and empty spots show locations you haven't been to yet. If you hover the cursor over any rose (of whatever color,) it will tell you the location of the rose you've missed so that you can go back and find it.
But wait...! What if you miss a rose and can't get back to the location?
Not to worry! The devs thought of that! If you go to the Extras section, there are three things there: Gallery, Achievements, and Rose Hunt. Click on Rose Hunt, then click on any gray rose to travel to that location and find your missing rose(s)!
Once you've found ALL of the roses, click on each of them to create a puzzle piece. Once all 45 pieces are placed, the hidden chapters will be unlocked.
There are three hidden chapters, each with a different theme. In the first chapter, watch for clovers -- there are four hidden here! You finish the chapter, add the token to the middle book... and now you're stuck!
Guess what? I missed something!
Back to the Extras section, and there's a Collectibles section that I didn't even see! (Top left) You have to complete this section before you can go on to the second and third hidden chapters! In this section are NINE sub-sections. Click on any area to go back into the game and grab the collectibles that, if you're like me, you didn't even know to watch for... Or perhaps they aren't unlocked until you finish the game, I don't know *shrugs* There's one at each location, for a total of 45 collectibles, and the hint button WILL help you find them, if you need help. The area where our helpful owl was will show you which item you're looking for, very helpful!
NOW you can complete the last two chapters, #3, then #2. Finishing the last chapter will unlock:Sugar Rush
What is sugar rush, you ask? Well first you eat loooots of chocolate
Oh, you mean as pertains to the game! Right! Sugar Rush unlocks a HOS with 100 items to find! Just one more little bonus to this CE that has SO many extras, already!
The main game ended well, but the bonus chapter is EXCELLENT and gives us some great closure. This is the BEST Collector's Edition that I have ever played... one of the best games, period! The graphics are very nice, the music never invasive, the gameplay and story riveting... I just can't tell you how much I enjoyed this game!
. . . *scrolls back and looks at novel-like review*
Oh wait, yes I can! I already did!
All told, the timer clocked me at 7 hours, 14 minutes. Remove 20-30 minutes for the times I jumped up to do something without pausing the game, and you STILL have almost 7 hours of gameplay
That's something we just don't see anymore! I consider myself an advanced (though not expert) gamer, so that's really saying something!
I'm sure I've missed some things I wanted to mention, but I think I'll stop here. I HIGHLY recommend this game, and if you can swing it, the CE. I had been in a game funk, but this game completely brought me out of it!
My final thought is that if all CE's were made like this, NO ONE would complain about them not being worth the extra money!!