Defeating the Snow Queen
Adding to the Dark Parables series is the Hidden Object Adventure game "Rise of the Snow Queen". Developed by Blue Tea Games, this title is available in Collector's Edition format. This enhanced edition includes a number of bonus elements to sit alongside the main game of the legendary Snow Queen.
Allowing different people to play the game, profiles can be created to record their progress and permit them to restart from their last position. Different volume levels can be set for music, sound effect and ambience. Options are available to view the game in full and wide screen mode with a choice of Casual, Normal or Hard difficulty offering different Hint charging rates and the use of sparkles to identify when areas of interest are available.
Set in a frozen kingdom, this game opens with the appearance of the Snow Queen who immediately begins her reign by capturing unsuspecting children from local villages situated in the Bernese Alps. You are cast in the role of a detective sent to investigate the missing children and the rumours regarding the mysterious Snow Queen. Providing assistance with your tasks are tools arranged across the bottom of the screen plus a mouse cursor which changes shape to indicate when different tasks are possible.
Taking up a central position is an inventory displaying the items you have collected. By placing the mouse over an item in the inventory you will be told its name. To the left of the inventory are the Hint facility and a quick link to the Parables section but more on this feature a little later. Situated on the right of the inventory are links to the game's Strategy Guide and a map. As well as displaying the layout of the different areas, the map marks those with tasks to complete, objectives and your current locations.
Moving around this frozen kingdom you will meet different characters including missing children. These characters are displayed in video animated format with believable lip movement. Dialogue will be spoken by a voice actor and also displayed in text format. Along with these dialogue interludes, the game also features a number of special effects and animated video cut-scene sequences.
Rather than combining a cluttered scene with a text list of required items, the Rise of the Snow Queen opts for using images of the required object. These images are divided into three sections and, as each section is completed, the various objects automatically come together and then the three combine into a single item. The resulting object becomes your reward and will be added to the inventory for use elsewhere. I tend to find this form of Hidden Object game play as slightly more difficult that a text list.
The game features a number of mini game puzzles. These sessions involve a variety of tasks that could involve arranging goblets, matching pairs of people with their headgear or animals with their preferred food or type of tail plus following a path by using a set number of coloured stones. A Skip option is available should a puzzle prove too difficult. I was tempted to use this feature but not after discovering that the use of the Skip option would disable the Hint facility for five minutes.
As you travel around the different scenes, the game contains 20 morphing objects. Each one of the changing items you locate will produce a slightly faster recharge of the Hint facility after each use.
Earlier I mentioned that the game possessed a Parables section. This section of the game will allow you to view the different parts of the game's back story. This narrative is broken up into sections entitled Rise of the Snow Queen, Mountain Beast, Tale of Two Mirrors, The Golden Child and The Snow Queen Tale. You will need to collect the appropriate number of Gems that are associated with each Parable and then you can read the relevant story.
At the conclusion of the game, you will be granted access to a bonus game of "Hansel and Gretel". You will also be allowed to view features such as Wallpaper, Music, Concept Art and Movie Gallery for even more content. I certainly enjoyed the challenge of playing this game which I have seen priced at £3.00 on eBay, The game requires a 1.0 GHz processor with 512MB of RAM and 789MB of hard disk space running Windows ZP and later.
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