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Domini Games continues its story of Royal Romances with this next offering. Entitled Endless Winter, this tale of a Kingdom, gripped by a seemingly eternal season of snow and ice, is available in Collector's Edition format. Bundled with the main game is the usual collection of bonus items, some of which can be accessed immediately while other require game progress to be made or even completed.
Having adjusted the gaming environment to suit your playing needs and opted to play in a choice of Casual, Advanced, Hardcore or Custom difficulty level, you are drawn into a world gripped by winter and where magic, witches and dragons all have their parts to play. Spread over six chapters plus a bonus section, you will be faced with numerous challenges as you explore areas such as a Hunter's Cabin, Castle, Dwarven Hut and a Forbidden Forest.
To aid you with your various quests, that are task based, you will be provided with certain tools. Arranged across the bottom of the different scenes will be a Journal, containing Notes and Tasks' sections, an Illustrated Map, Inventory limited to showing just five items at a time, plus shortcuts for a Strategy Guide and Hint features. Occasionally a shortcut link to a previous scene will be added.
Located on either side of the screen are pop-out icons revealing details of the Collectibles points and the Decision points. The game's Collectibles are made up of Ice Stained glass, Magical Amulets and Sun Amulets while Decision points refer to the choices you will need to make at various times during the game. The results of these decisions will lead to one of three possible endings depending upon the points earned with these Decisions.
Exploring well-drawn scenes featuring appropriate animations, you will encounter other characters. Generally these characters will offer to help in exchange for a favour. These characters will be displayed in a central position within a split screen layout. Their dialogue will be delivered by a voice actor plus presented in text format while their visual appearance will feature both facial and some body animation.
Along with the use of split screens for characters delivering dialogue, the game makes good use of overlaid windows. These appear when you move in for a closer look at a particular area or when searching for a required items. Generally these overlays close themselves down when no longer required.
As the story develops and you encounter other characters, Hidden Object challenges and mini game puzzles will make an appearance. With both these types of task, you are provided with a choice regarding the way to proceed. In the case of Hidden Object game play, which often appear as the result of using a key to open a door or container, you can either tackle the Hidden Object challenge or switch to clearing a Match 3 grid. The Hidden Object challenge could involve finding matching pairs with some items concealed in drawers, positioning object correctly, finding items that are out of place, matching words from a story with the appropriate illustrations in a book or solving riddles amongst others.
When faced with a mini game puzzles, you are given the choice of an Easy or Hard version of the problem. Selecting the latter choice usually involves more elements and additional stages. Whichever choice you make, there will be an option to skip a puzzle that often requires moving elements around a pattern arrangement to achieve the desired result.
Although part of the Royal Romances series, this particular title seems more like an earlier offshoot from the main battle taking place between the King and the creatures of the forest. I found this title to be a more enjoyable gaming experience than the other titles in the series. I downloaded my copy of the game from Gamehouse.com where it is priced at $19.99. You could also download the game from Big Fish Games where it is priced at £15.82. The game requires a 2.0 GHz processor with 1024MB of RAM running Windows 7 and later.
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