The Exiled Prince and Child of the Forest: HO Game (mini)reviews

I played Dark Parables: The Exiled Prince a while ago. The story stuck with me better than the story of the first game, maybe because it actually told more of a story.  It was a weird story– the Frog Prince as a cursed immortal marrying fairy tale princess after fairy tale princess, and eventually being cursed to turn others into frogs.  The mechanics were Dark Parables mechanics and the fairy tale princess tombs were creepy and interesting at the same time. I have notes that refer to the Frog Prince as Phantom of the Opera-like.  Overall it wasn’t great and wasn’t bad, and did fractured fairy tale well.

I also just finished the main content in Rite of Passage: Child of the Forest. It’s my first completed Collector’s Edition and I haven’t really touched the bonus content other than to notice that it seemed to be more ‘the complete game’, with replayable puzzles and achievements and more bits of story and puzzle and so forth. I mean, that could just be the Rite of Passage games but I don’t think so. Anyhow, I’m glad to have it because I like being able to improve my score and collect achievements and stuff. At least for a definition of ‘like’ that includes ‘obsessive annoyance that I haven’t’. And I’m very glad to get the extra bits of story because I’ve always been annoyed by the hooks to said content in the ‘standard’ games I’ve completed.

As for the game itself, well, I downloaded it because it has had consistently solid popularity at Big Fish since it was released, more so than most of the games I’ve glanced at. I don’t normally go for the creepier/moodier games but this didn’t seem likely to contain much in the way of horrible hospital creepiness like that one game I tried and didn’t buy. And in fact this wasn’t any more disturbing than the Dark Parables game. And and AND it had a decent story! I mean, you have to allow for WTFery puzzle placement (but I never found myself annoyed by it) and you have to allow for a token ancient civilization (they’re like elves in fantasy fiction) and you have to allow for terrible voice acting and goofy cheap animation. So, allowing for all of that, the story started off in media res with a much stronger sense of urgency than I’ve encountered to date, with a mostly consistent setting and hidden objects and puzzles that were thematically relevant to the current bit of story. The setting was a bit random and unexplained (magically dark forest next to swamp, ship graveyard, port, what?) but I just pretended there were zombies beyond the forest and it worked fine.

The art never blew me away; I never even found myself noticing anything nice about it, but the music seemed to have a little more work put into it than any other game I’ve noticed. There were a couple of places I explicitly noticed it and it did a lot of mood work. Not jawdropping or anything but definitely there. The puzzles weren’t challenging if I was patient and not child-distracted, but they were fun (I played on Experienced mode, the middle tier. Perhaps I’ll try the hard mode sometime.)

Overall, I liked the game. I want to play with it some more. I think it’s a good toy with an extremely tolerable narrative.

Next up I’m going to play either the next Dark Parables game (inspired by the Snow Queen), the next Awakening game, or Mystery Case Files: Dire Grove. I’ve also got the Drawn sequel lined up…

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