Only difference from beta is the list of Extras, and an increase in my rating of it.
BASED ON DEMO
I’ve played this demo twice now (did the beta) and still got so caught up in the game that I forgot to takes notes! Wonderful introduction gives you all the backstory you need, and a fair indication of how this story is going to go. No dramatic train crashes or air disasters, but a good old-fashioned love-crazed villain with a taste for fire.
SIGHTS & SOUNDS
As usual with this developer, the graphics are superb. This is a somewhat darker game than is their usual, but they handle it well and most locations are in fact very well lit. The darkness is more an atmospheric thing. There is a certain glossy shine to the theatre scenes that I find a bit off putting personally. But then I’m not European and am therefore not used to seeing that much gold gilt! All items are easy to see and not small.
The voices are excellent fun, done in pseudo-Italian (?) accents, that fit wholly with the characters and the story. The flautist is my personal favourite. The characters in the location are still, while there is a smaller pic beside the speech box where lips do move. I always like this feature. The music is a little different, though don’t ask me to describe how. But it is low key ominous and quite pleasant. As the game is about ballet, I was a little disappointed not to hear any classical stuff.
You are meeting your sister after her performance as star of the most popular ballet, written for the love of the composer’s life. It was performed here for the first time 30 years ago, immediately prior to the theatre burning to the ground. Having watched the intro through, we know that the composer burnt the place down in revenge for finding his loved one, the prima ballerina, with another man.
Your sister does not show, and you are outside wondering what to do when the stage manager opens the door. No, he says, the theatre is empty, there’s no one here. But there is a light in an upstairs window, and voices. You must get in and find your sister! In keeping with demo tradition, we finish with a cliff hanger, but how we are going to get out of this particular predicament totally escapes me! Can’t wait to find out!
The play is dominated by HOPs. So far, there have been several, either interactive lists or simple silhouettes, which are introduced four at a time only, which requires a slightly different search strategy. What may have been irrelevant before could be needed now. As an alternative, there is a bubble popper game, in which each sparkling bubble you pop removes an item from the list. Again, an somewhat unusual strategy is required.
The puzzles so far are incredibly easy. I hope they get harder later on, because if I think they’re easy, a lot of people will think they are laughable. One puzzle got on my nerves. A simple follow the notes memory game. But if you missed once you had to go right back to the start from one note again.
There is an interactive jump map that shows objectives as well as active tasks and current location. I don’t like how long it took to unfold it each time we use it. Hint is directional. The journal has a diary and objectives. The tutorial is particularly well written.
*Takes a deep breath*
In-game SG, and bonus chapter. The gallery includes a ‘making of’ movie, game movies, 8 Wallpapers, 8 Concept Art, 16 Photos, Music. There are replayable HOPs (17) and puzzles (28), as well as bonus HOPs which are played for a separate achievement. Two types of collectibles, 44 yellow roses for Marie’s Bouquet (a mini-game where you can go back to the places where you missed the roses). These are easy to spot, and 12 morphing items, which are a lot harder to find. There are 18 Achievements, all performance based. There is a Souvenir Room, another mini-game, where you go back through the locations finding one new item.
I really loved this game. But it is not my favourite Eipix, though it is up to their usual excellent standards. My enthusiasm is tempered, I think, by the lack of anything unique to this game, and all that golden gilt!
I recommend this game!