Review by Cordia, Nov. 2, 2010 wrote:
The developers for Curse of Briar Rose is the team at Blue Tea Games. You might also know them from: Forgotten Riddles: The Mayan Princess/Moonlight Sonatas, Forgotten Lands: First Colony, and Enlightenus, among others.
Dark Parables: Curse of Briar Rose is a Fragmented Object Game with, as you may have gathered from the title, a new look at the Briar Rose fairy tale. It probably took me about 5 or 6 hours to complete, but your mileage may vary. It was released earlier this year in February or March as a premium edition game. (I will come back and add the right date- must add CE to casual gaming terms)
The quality of the game is very high, and I do not just mean the production values. This game is polished, from beginning to end. I love the artwork in Blue Tea games, and they’ve only gotten better over time. They have inventive ideas for how to make their games distinctive, which you will recognize immediately if you have played Enlightenus or Forgotten Riddles. They stand out because they fit into a popular genre, but still manage to be different. Briar Rose may be my favorite Fragmented Object Game to date, largely because I find the puzzles so elegant. There is no better way to describe my reaction to the recurring marble puzzles in Briar Rose than utter delight.
The story is very good and the end of the game manages to wrap up the major storyline while still leaving it open for a sequel, which I am eagerly anticipating. I am not a fan of the “cliffhanger” ending in any format- It makes me feel like I am being bribed into buying the next part. I do not mind if some questions are added at the end to entice me to buy the next installment, it just feels cheap when everything is left unfinished. I am happy to report that Briar Rose is designed and plotted so that I feel enticed and not bribed.
I know I have already mentioned the artwork, but I cannot get over how exquisitely detailed every scene is! The standard game has morphing objects to find in it, too, and I found them to be a fun side-quest. A morphing object is pretty much what it sounds like- it is animated to first project one image and slowly fades out and becomes something else. The game refers to them as “cursed objects” and the motivation for finding them is supposed to be to recharge the hint more quickly, but honestly, I don’t know if I ever used them for that purpose. I just felt clever for spotting them in the first place!
As far as I can recall, the scenes were all appropriately arranged, and the fragments were integrated into the scenes beautifully. In fact, they were often quite difficult to find, which seems to be a rarity in Fragmented Object style games. It also qualifies as adventure-lite in my mind, since there are inventory items, puzzles, and wandering to and fro. I actually can’t think of anything negative to say about this game!
However, you probably won’t like it if:
- You have a deep dislike for the fragmented objects style. Even so, I would still strongly encourage you to at least play the demo hour of Curse of Briar Rose, because I think it might surprise some people.
- You are afraid of spiders in games. There’s a section of the game that will send you off the deep end if this is the case.
- You feel that magic is morally objectionable or something that is completely uninteresting to you.
- You don’t like this sort of adventure-lite game, which allows you to walk from area to area throughout. Genkicoll has reminded me of a very good point, however: As you progress through the game and more locations open up, you are given a way to move easily between the two major areas. Thanks, Genki!
My bottom line (or Too long; Did not read): I love this game, and find the puzzles to be extremely elegant. It was worth the price, and I am even considering the premium edition. That’s pretty major, as I’ve never bought a premium casual game. It had a solid length for me, good writing and phenomenal art. I think it would appeal to a pretty wide audience, too.
How did I do with this review? If you haven’t tried it, did it make you want to play it? If you’ve played it all the way through, was I accurate? Did you like Dark Parables: Curse of Briar Rose? Why or why not? Is there anything you dislike about the format of my review?
Please remember that this is only my opinion about games. The segment where I discuss the game’s quality is meant to be as objective as possible. Sometimes a game is very well done but, for whatever reason, it simply does not resonate with me, so just because I don’t like a game or I don’t find the game play or the game’s genre to be to my personal taste does not make it a bad game. I will try to express that sentiment where I think it’s applicable. Thanks for reading! Next up… well, I haven’t decided quite yet.