DARK PARABLES – THE EXILED PRINCE Collector’s Edition

by BLUE TEA GAMES; BIGFISH GAMES

Jud’s Game Rating:

Graphics **** Player participation (PP) ***** Satisfaction Factor (SF) *****

Frustration Factor (FF) **   Fair Play (FP) ****  Tedium Factor (TF) Nil

EXCELLENT!

Many centuries ago, a princess kissed a frog and transformed him into a handsome prince. Unlike the fable, they never ended happily ever after. It is rumored that the Frog Prince is still alive and now roams the deserted path in the Black Forest, capturing unsuspecting visitors. When the chancellor’s daughter goes missing, you are sent to investigate her disappearance. Journey through the deserted forest in Dark Parables – The Exiled Prince, an eerie Hidden Object Adventure game! (BigFish Games Sales Blurb)

Like the others in the Series, this game has great opening Graphics, which continue in the game as spectacular, vibrant, gorgeous, but rather dark due to the night-time setting.  However, I’ll get the small gripe out of the way – the Hidden Objects are discoloured so they merge into their backgrounds – you are looking for the shape more than the colour of the items, which is very difficult, not to mention frustrating, as there is always one per scene which you just cannot see.  Plus some of the HOs are quite small – an added difficulty.  But the HOs are jewelled pieces, fragments of items that once complete you can use either in the same scene or elsewhere in the game.  I wrote that their pick-up is awkward, and you don’t zoom in to use the found HOs where required – you seem to place them from a distance and the game automatically sets them into their correct positions.

The Options are very good, and there is an Easy level and a Hard level which is unlocked upon completion of the game.  Unfortunately, if you want to re-play it again as yourself, you will find that you are now locked into this Hard level which gives you no HINTS and few SKIPS (if any) – this ups the FF level considerably.  As I hadn’t played the game for some time and my notes were scrappy – I obviously was so engrossed in the game that I didn’t write many – I Started again and found myself locked into Hard mode.  I should have backed out and used a new Player name, but persevered till I had enough specific info to pass on.  The Strategy Guide was accessible on-screen, but for the Hard Mode they had blocked out certain Hints which I thought was rather unsporting of them.

The intertextuality of the story is really interesting – you are not only dealing with the Frog Prince, but also the Swan Lake Princess, Mermaid Princess, Snow White, Sisters Ivy and Briar Rose, and Cinderella – all under the curse on the Frog Prince.  The stories are cleverly interwoven, integral to the game-play, and combines Detection with Fairy Tale.  I made no notes about a Bonus story, for the Collector’s Edition, but there must have been one – it can remain as surprise!

There is a series of tasks that require collections to be found then used – 2 goglets, 5 jars, 5 ships in bottles, 5 tiaras, and 6 potions.  There are probably more but I stopped playing after midnight with enough notes for the blog.  There is a good Map, on which you can see your location, plus the HO sites.  But you cannot jump from site to site within the Map – you must Exit it and Point & Click Back & Forth through the scenes.  On the whole the Puzzles are okay, some are cool, some are impossible – you need to be able to Skip them so you aren’t put off the game completely.  The Full Screen isn’t Widescreen so you are working within a boxed game-screen, which is a shame.

I bought this game to add to my Dark Parables Collection, and don’t regret it – despite this new locked Hard level revelation.  I highly recommend it.

Jud House  3/01/2012

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