by BIGFISH GAMES STUDIOS; BIGFISH GAMES
Jud’s Game Rating:
Graphics: ***** Player participation (PP) ***** Satisfaction Factor (SF) *****
Frustration Factor (FF) ** Fair Play (FP) **** Tedium Factor Nil
I want to say at the outset that I think this is a really innovative Series of Games. The stories are episodic of the one narrative – that of the child Iris, captured and trapped in a tower, rescued and moved to another, then freed I hope – I have yet to complete all 3 games. I have bought them all, but my Reviews are from the Demo versions.
This is as much a Puzzle Game as it is an Adventure/Quest Game, with a range of Items to locate and use, yet there seem to be no Hidden Object sites so far. The fact that Iris draws pictures and creates paintings that ‘become magical doors to other worlds’ is an interesting twist. I know there are other ‘Painting Games’ and for that matter ‘Mirror Games’ too that have similar qualities, but these are particularly neat – you often have to repair the paintings in order to enter them, plus you need to carry out tasks within the paintings to restore them, assist their characters, and collect items that will help you progress.
The Graphics for these games are great – clear, colourful, imaginative, enchanting, moody and atmospheric at times without affecting the clarity. While some of the characters are threatening, they are not frightening, so children can safely play these games, and adults can enjoy them more deeply. The characters that you deal with are either turned to stone or fictional from within her drawings – except for Iris who you eventually meet. But as an integral part of the story they are totally and easily acceptable as you play.
They do have another bonus – in the Options there is a slide control for Brightness, so that you can choose not to peer through the gloom – I really like this. It is something that I have complained about for some time, and did so to BigFish as well. It is great to see that somebody listens! Of course they may have had these games out prior to my complaints, but nonetheless other Designers and Producers could take a leaf out of the BigFish book.
They have a the choice of Casual or Experienced Game Playing Modes. They also give the required tasks as you locate the relevant Item or Area in each location. Hints and advice are given you, a step at a time, by the stone face of Iris’s protector, and these are mostly helpful. This way you may only need a nudge in the right direction to achieve it for yourself.
The Puzzles are quite difficult – they start off easy and quite quickly become tricky. The Puzzles lead from one to the next until you have completed that Location and have the next main clue to the next location. There are a couple of Puzzles that require eye-hand coordination, which I find difficult and a little unnecessary – not all their customers are able-bodied.
Some of the Puzzles are great and you can take your time and enjoy doing them. However, the longer you play the more difficult they become and the more tired you become so it is hard to not give in and press the Skip button – especially when you know what you are trying to make it do, but without any success due to the game refusing to cooperate! FF As a Puzzle based Game Series they certainly exercise your mind, powers of logic and observaton.
THE PAINTED TOWER
This I believe is the first game – has Basic Option including the Brightness control, and Extras that include Forum, Strategy Guide, and World of Drawn – all of which I think are Links. The Demo for this game is very short – I find this very annoying that we are not given the full free hour of play, but it is the same with all three games. The Tutorial is given as you proceed and is quite helpful, clear, and brief – it doesn’t go on and on taking up your play time.
There was an opening glitch with this game – it opened slowly and moodily with the set-up narrative. I then named my profile and clicked start, but it got stuck loading the first scene – the opening medallion whirled while it was stuck on 10% loaded. So I had to use Control/Alt/Delete to open Task Master/Manager. I clicked on the game name, and end task. Then I restarted the game and it went through properly, and played with no problems till the Demo was complete.
You are unable to Fast Forward through any of the Opening Dialogue, and there is no Skip Dialogue either. The Window Pane Puzzle requires perseverence, but is do-able – look at the drawing on the wall to see how it should be.
TRAIL OF SHADOWS
I enjoyed this Game despite the fact that there seemed to be a lot of going back and forth, and that the Cursor was a little awkward. Very colourful, very clear graphics though which is great. So far there are no glitches or problem Puzzles to report, but I will Up-Date this once I have completed playing the game.
I have played a lot more of this game and have to report that the Puzzles became tiresomely difficult in places. I suggest you make notes of clues as you go along as there is no Notebook (I made no note of there being one so I am assuming this). I had to resort to the Skip button despite knowing what I was trying to do, and what was needed. Some of them require a high degree of patience and persistence, and with many a whole lot of Luck!!! Mind you it was after midnight when I Quit the game to go to bed. When I have completed the full game I will Up-Date this Blog re Tips and Hints if necessary.
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I highly recommend these games. Give the Demos a try and see what you think. If you need any help with these games, don’t hesitate to ask me in Comments – or go to the BigFish site via the Link and check out the Forums there.
(C) Copyright Jud House 13/03/2012
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