by MAD HEAD GAMES; BIGFISH GAMES
Story: After centuries of war, you and the leader of the Sky Kingdom have pledged peace. What starts as a joyous occasion quickly turns dark when you’re framed for setting up the Sky King. With a new battle raging, can you find the real culprit before it’s too late? Continuation of DARK REALM Series. (Big Fish Games Sales Blurb)
Options & Main Menu: Both are clear and easy to use. The Standard game lacks all the added EXTRAS of the Collector’s Edition, so the MM looks a little bare.
Music & Voices: These are both good – the Music varies and is entirely suitable to the game. The Voices are also really well matched to their characters, and so enhance the story.
Desktop: Inventory fill two thirds of the bottom bar; all other controls are on the Right – Bow & various Arrows, Objectives, various Maps, Hint, and Menu.
Tutorial: This is efficient, and you can opt in or out via the Difficulty Modes.
Graphics: Absolutely gorgeous. Colourful, imaginative, intricately detailed in all aspects – settings, furnishings, characters, creatures, the works. Good Graphics enhance the enjoyment of the game – bad Graphics are detrimental to the game satisfaction factor!
Play Modes: Breeze; Zephyr; Gale; and Custom – the latter allows a fair degree of choice.
Map: These change as you find them, move to a different location, are given new Maps. They are all interactive, allowing you to jump from site to site within each location, and providing Active and Objective site info to assist your decisions. The Map Info Key is in a drop-down window, which is great as it doesn’t take up too much Map-room.
HOPs: These were very unusual. I like that about Mad Head Games – they have tried to make the HOP experience as interesting as possible. There are a few Interactive Lists, where you find some Items with the help of another Item. But there are different types of Pairing – Runes, Patterns, Plants etc – and Multiple sites within a site. Occasionally though there are some Items that are so hard to find. This is a little frustrating, and if it interferes with the Game-Play then use Hint to find them.
Puzzles: These are also very diverse, interesting, unusual, clever, and mostly enjoyable. Once again if the frustration level rises too far, use SKIP, so that you don’t lose the contact with the flow of the game. I really like the Puzzle that allows you to steer the Blimp; and the Unblocking the Path Puzzle you use to activate and aim your Retrieving Bow & Arrow.
Game-play: On the whole this flows well. It is engrossing, keeping you wanting to move forward, and solve the problems. You are given various short-term Items – like the Orb which you carry until you can recharge its Power from the King’s statue in order to defeat your enemy; the Seeing Stone you activate to look ahead at what is missing; the Stars you need to collect in three stages to unlock three compartments; and the various Arrow Heads you acquire to use for different tasks.
Player Participation: This is high – you are required to make many of the actions yourself which is always a plus. The Maps ease the amount of Pointing & Clicking needed, which saves on the wrist fatigue.
Satisfaction Factor: This is really high. To an experienced player, the story shifts and twists are fairly predictable, but that doesn’t affect the enjoyment at all. It’s just that you are often ahead of the game mentally, while still resolving issues as they arise. That in itself leads to a sense of satisfaction, and possibly smugness.
Frustration Factors: The Dexterity required is occasionally a little high, but can be resolved with patience or the Skip button!
Bonus Game: There is none in the Standard game, though you are left with no doubt at the end that there is more to come in the Bonus Chapter.
I wish I’d bought the Collector’s Edition of this game. I highly recommend it.
Jud House 31/10/2016
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