Play Modes:    Casual; Advanced; Hardcore
HOGs:    Interactive Lists with multiple Items
Puzzles:    Wide variety; fair info: skipped a few
Collections:    Butterflies
Map:    Interactive: shows all active not next sites
Game-play:    Story driven; compelling; long
Navigation:    Okay; mouse spot sensitive

Graphics:    Clever; Fantastic; Colourful; Imaginative
Options:    Great; has Gamma setting
Player Participation:  High; continual
Satisfaction Factor:    Excellent
Frustration Factors:   Some Puzzles; clumsy Cursor
Fair Play:    Good
Tedium Factor:   None

Thumbelina had the perfect happy ending, until the Raven Queen crashed her wedding, kidnapping her prince. To make matters worse, the Raven Queen locked her up in a dungeon! Will she be able to escape and rescue her prince before he becomes the Raven King? When you’re only a few inches tall, you need all the allies you can get, but beware! Anyone you meet could be a spy working for the Queen! Join Thumbelina as she journeys across the fantastic Kingdom of the Floral Elves in Unfinished Tales: Illicit Love, a charming hidden-object puzzle adventure game!  (BigFish Sales Blurb)

This game is really wonderful – another Elephant Games triumph.  It is long – and so is the Bonus Chapter – giving the Player plenty of game-play, most of which is satisfying.  The slight clumsiness and spot-sensitivity of the Mouse action; the long black-screen-with-music wait between the loading of new scenes; and the sometimes a little obscure Puzzle info is far out-weighed by the brilliance of the Graphics artwork, the clever conception of the story and its total integration into the game-play!  The attention to details in the environments, the architecture, the costumes, and the characters and creatures is amazing.  A sumptuous experience that makes you want to keep playing no matter what else you should be doing.

There is intertextuality within the story – known characters from several fairy-tales are intermingled, giving – contrary to expectations – an authenticity to this new story.  There are many twists as you proceed, following and collecting the clues within the story as you play.  It is involving, complex, a little addictive, and has a sense of urgency at times.  Although the story ends for the Main Game, you are left with a question mark which is resolved with the Bonus Chapter, which in turn leaves you with another slight question mark, presaging more to come.

There are a few Portals – always fun – to be unlocked and used.  And the Map would be a little more helpful if the immediately active/next tasks sites were indicated with an ‘!’.  The Map was useful, allowing you to jump between sites, and having several pages to it so it wasn’t too cramped and hard to see.  But, as there is also no Journal/Notebook and no Task list, I found myself resorting to the Strategy Guide occasionally when my memory wouldn’t supply me with the site needed next for the Items I had acquired – I knew what they were for, but not where they went.  So you may need to keep your own notes – or resort to the Strategy Guide as I did for the occasional nudge.  Hint would also tell you where and what to do next if stuck.

I highly recommend this game – and of course I bought it.

Jud House   25/01/2014

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About judsartwork

I write reviews of Adventure and Hidden Object games that are Crime, Fantasy, SciFi, Renovation, Travel, Quest and/or Mystery by genre. I have a Masters in Writing (2006) and have been writing novels, both crime and fantasy for many years; plus Haiku, verse, and prose both fictional and literary. I am also an artist of modern, Acrylic, textural and hard edge work, underwater, fantasy, expressionist, and Cosmos paintings. I use mixed media (Acrylic, Watercolour, Pastels) in textural Monoprints, finding surprises to expose within each work. Having both an analytical and creative mind has meant that I have strong powers of observation, and the persistence required to follow computer problems through till I solve them. Of course I am not always successful, but am willing to ask for a little help in order to then unlock the main problem myself. My Troubleshooting Blog, 'Problems and Solutions', was the result of my tenacity.
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