Dark Realm: Queen of Flames
An amazing, quality offering from Mad Head Games
Options include separate sliders for Music, Ambients, SFX and Voices, Full-screen, Aspect Correction and Custom Cursor. Choice of three pre-set difficulties, or you can go with Custom mode. Difficulty can be changed at any time.Story
You are the fiery, independent daughter of the village's blacksmith. You've never been one to turn from danger, but the dark figures destroying the town cannot be easily-defeated, so you heed your father's plea and run. Now you're on a quest to alert the queen of the mysterious attack, but your every move seems to be blocked. It will take every bit of your cunning, some magical powers and a little help from your friends to save your father, your town and the kingdom itself.
is really a glorified task list, but it does hold clues we've gathered as well. You'll find them pictured on the right-hand side - just click on them to enlarge. There are three tabs, in case you want to double-check the map or achievement progress before you close it.
The story progresses via cutscenes and story-laced hidden object scenes like this one:Gameplay
I'm going to warn you from the outset that there are some battles in the game which require accurate mouse-work (dragging the cursor in a certain shape or accurately clicking at the right time). I mention this for my friends who are dexterity-challenged, but I also want to point out that these sequences can be skipped.
Be on the lookout for collectible flame insignias
as you play. There is an indicator in the bottom right corner that is gray if you've not yet found the flame at your current location. These CAN be collected after the game is completed, but I'll come back to that down below.
can be interactive (depending on which difficulty you've chosen), and has instant-transport available. Inventory items can be zoomed-in on and interacted with.
There is a whole lot going on with our task bar, so a quick rundown: Besides the flame/morphing item indicators and the usual map, journal and hint buttons, we also have magic boots and a flame medallion. Our boots can make us invisible when we're in danger, and the medallion holds multiple powers all by itself. This is heavily-utilized during the game, and central to the storyline.
Using a HINT
during the adventure portion of the game will either pinpoint something or give you a directional arrow.
The Hidden Object Scenes
are wonderfully, beautifully varied, and many are designed in a way to draw you deeper into the story. There is a morphing item on each HOS, and the indicator in the bottom right corner will be gray if you've not yet found the one on your current scene.Sights and Sounds
The graphics are absolutely gorgeous, with minute details everywhere you look. This isn't on one or two scenes, this is throughout the game, including every item in the hidden object scenes. The characters are beautifully-drawn and full of character.
I normally don't notice soundtracks, but Queen of Flames
stands out in every way, including the music. Beautiful, amazing, moving, dramatic - just everything you'd want from a music score. Most of the voice overs were really good, and one in particular makes me grin whenever I think about him.CE Content
- Integrated Strategy Guide
- Bonus Chapter
- 57 Collectible Flame Insignias
- 20 Morphing Items (found in HOS)
- 15 Tiered in-game Achievements
- 16 Wallpapers
- "Making of" Video (Concept Art, models and behind-the-scenes crew)
- 11 Music Tracks
- 20 Replayable HOS
- Northpearl Jigsaw Puzzle
- Original Card Game with unlockable character cards
In the Hidden Objects area of the Extras screen, you can replay HOS from the game. It tracks how long it takes you to finish, accuracy and gives you a score for your performance.
The Game of Cards
is introduced during the main story. In the Extras menu, we have Basic (what we've already learned) and Advanced (winning cards can be stolen) Mode. The game is easy-to-learn and not terribly challenging, but the cards are beautiful, it's mildly-entertaining, and each time you win on Advanced mode, you get a character card, which will then go into your Cards Gallery
. Here you can read an informational blurb on each character, as well as zoom in on the cards so you can admire the lovely details.
Any fire symbols you've missed during gameplay can be obtained through the "Collectibles Hunt
" on the Extras page. There's a symbol for each location, and any that are black you can revisit in order to find the missing insignia. Hints can be used to find the insignias during the collectibles hunt portion!PRO TIP
for those who love taking screens: Most of the HUD is gone when you revisit the scenes this way, making for great screenshots!
Once you finish finding all of the flame symbols AND the Northpearl jigsaw, you'll unlock a find-by-list hidden object scene that has new items listed for each object you find until you've found most everything on the scene. Like the replayable HOS, this is timed, scored and has a % accuracy, as well as a high score.Bonus Chapter
The extra chapter takes place after the main story has ended, and involves trouble in your hometown once again. The gameplay was just as enjoyable, but this time, you get to make some decisions on how things will play out. (I think I made the right choices. Ho ho ho ;D) The story for this part was a little predictable, but still well worth playing.Verdict
I had some logic issues in the early part of the game, but these are things I think very few people would notice. Overall this was an amazing experience. I am blown away by the quality throughout the game - every little detail just shines. There was honestly more work put into the 'Making of' video than I've seen put into some entire games! If every hidden object game was held to this kind of standard, there would be a LOT more fans of the genre. Absolutely recommended!