Curious Mix of Old & New BASED ON COMPLETED GAME
At first, you may be thinking you downloaded the wrong game. I mean, did you plan to download a game where one of the first tasks is to prepare the fashion collection for delivery? In your ultra-modern very realistic office? Your only hint (outside the original main menu visuals) that you are in for a supernatural battle between good and evil is those strange hallucinations you have. But that’s the pills, right?
You must bear with this game through its first 15 (?) minutes, while your situation is carefully presented to you, preparing you for the leap of faith needed to play the rest of the game. That game is almost 100% medieval locations, HOPs and mini-games.
SIGHTS & SOUNDS
There is not the too-oft-taken-for-granted spectacular intro on this game, but in a way it has something just as powerful. The main menu screen is simple if excellent art and the music is a song – yes, vocals – very eerie, haunting and addictive. And it is not without its dramatic impact. (Trust me).
In the early part of the game we find pseudo-realistic imagery done very well, with extraordinary animation. Later, that becomes handpainted, subtle and lovely art.
A totally irrelevant aside – including this, I know of only 3 HOPAs which have actual songs on the main menu page, and I absolutely adore all 3 – both song and game. (Dying For Daylight & Chimeras) Perhaps noteworthy, developers?
When your ordinary (birth)day, turns absolutely extraordinary, you learn that you are a member (by birth) of the Order of Keepers, a secret sisterhood of warrior women who are bound to the task of defeating “the Dark Ones”. (In style and purpose they remind me of Red Riding Hood Sisters from the Dark Parables series.) Just how you end up in the Middle Ages I’ll leave you to find out for yourself – and don’t expect it to be easy getting there! *evil grin*
The ending was satisfying, tying up the loose threads, providing closure and leaving a possibility of a sequel – which I hope they do.
At first this game has the feel of an adventure, rather than a HOPA. Sure, there are puzzles and HOPs (although not many early on), but with so much dialogue, you choosing your own responses to situations (i.e. “Lie” or “Tell the truth” to your psychologist), and trying to barricade your door, it just *seems* more ‘freewill’ than most HOPAs allow.
Once into the medieval part of the game, the mood changes to more of what we’re used to. And you get your own interactive jump map. There are a large number of HOPs that are not at all monotonous as they come in many varieties. Interactive lists, progressive silhouettes, fragmented objects, related pairs and misplaced items.
There are also a lot of mini-games (some requiring a little hand/eye coordination – like the “click within the green section of a slider”). There is also still plenty of adventure-style tasks to complete.
As well as the usual gameplay, you will need to acquire special skills potions to perform certain tasks. These you can get by finding the Keepers’ figurines. Again, they *feel* like collectibles, but are not because they are necessary to the immediate gameplay, and are placed on a board game needed to complete the game.
There are also 30 Achievements. Presented in a very unusual if somewhat confusing way – but you can also opt for a simple list – nice innovation.
WHAT’S WRONG WITH IT?
Well, it’s true, I would have given this game an easy five stars, but for 2 very annoying problems, either of which might put you off the game entirely
1.It is very hard to get the voices to the right level, often you can barely hear them, other times they are too loud. A shame, because the voice acting, when you can hear it ( there’s subtitles) is absolutely wonderful and sometimes very subtly ironic.
2. The back arrow takes up too much screen space too high up, so that I was always getting tossed out of somewhere for getting too near the inventory bar. (Could have used an inventory lock too)
I’ve had a lot to say about this game, and while that is hardly something new for me, it is a lot less than all the impressions and responses I had to this game. Technical issues or not, this is a truly involving game. The music is still playing over and over in my head (I already have the words just about memorised), and I keep seeing that main menu page. It’s a story where you really want the good guys to win, and where your curiosity is likely to run away with you. I Recommend This Game!