A Witch’s Curse
It is time to gird your loins (or the nearest equivalent) as you set out to help a young lady to remove the evil presence that is threatening her forthcoming marriage. The young lady is none other than Princess Isabella and her bridegroom-to-be is Prince Adam. Unfortunately when Princess Isabella returned from a trip she discovered than an evil curse has been placed on her castle by a mysterious witch. This is the situation facing you at the start of Princess Isabella: A Witch’s Curse.
Developed by Gogii, this game is available as part of the Avanquest GSP catalogue of titles. This is the Collector’s Edition of the game which brings with it a number of exclusive additional features. As you make progress through the game, so eight of the mini-games found in this title will be unlocked enabling them to be replayed from the main title screen. You also get access to a series of wallpapers and a screensaver based on the game. Finally there is an integrated strategy guide which leads you through all the various scenes including the hidden objects and puzzles. This guide can be accessed from within the game at any point you feel that you need some additional help.
But back to the main game and your arrival at the bewitched castle where you are greeted by an invaluable ally in the form of a fairy who has somehow managed to escape the fate of others when the witch placed her spells on the castle. All the others who inhabited the castle at the time, including Isabella’s betrothed, have been trapped inside mirrors. What makes matters worse is that these mirrors have been broken up into pieces which have been scattered around the various rooms in the castle. This particular aspect of the game, in which you need to locate the pieces of each mirror and put them back together, has been used before by Gogii in The Mirror Mysteries. Fortunately the concept works far better in this game with its collection of hidden object game play, puzzle solving, mini-game action and adventure-style investigations.
Isabella, and your initial, task is to gain access to the castle which requires the first of many hidden object sessions. You will need to locate the various items listed across the bottom of the screen. The helpful fairy can provide a hint if required but does need time to recharge this power after each use. Items that might be required later are automatically placed in an inventory from which they can be selected at the appropriate time.
Once inside the castle you will need to find a way into the various rooms, a certain amount of backtracking will be required as you move between the different locations in search of clues, notes from Isabella’s mother and the pieces of mirrors. Messages revealed by your mouse cursor and the occasional twinkling effect can offer some assistance in locating items.
As well as providing hints, the fairy can provide other types of help. As part of the searching through the castle, you will discover various abilities that can be used by the fairy. She will gain the power to smash objects that contain items you need plus use the force of fire, wind and water to aid Isabella’s attempts to remove spells from each of the rooms in the castle. When you first enter a room it will generally be dark and dismal, caused by the effect of the spell, but once the spell has been removed the room with become bright and cheerful.
From time to time various puzzles and mini-games will need to be completed. The game’s developers have been particularly inventive with this aspect of The Witch’s Curse. You will have to arrange pictures and number sequences; mend broken machinery; play music on a piano; locate evil spirits in various objects; move blocks to release a horse or create a path; and even play a match-3 shooter game (once you have found all the elements) plus, of course, put the mirrors back together. While not a comprehensive listing, this should be enough to indicate the wide range of challenges found in this game.
The game’s graphics are well up to standard and you also get audio advice from your fairy. While there is always the temptation to use the supplied strategy game, the use of this feature can have the effect of making the game too easy and should be avoided if at all possible. Priced at £9.99, this game is well worth considering. The game supports both the Windows and Mac platforms. System requirements are an 800MHz processor, 256MB RAM, 120MB hard disk space running Windows XP and later or 1.83GHz processor with 512MB RAM running Mac OS 10.5.
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