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Like other titles in the extensive Grim Tales series, The Stone Queen allows you to create profiles to store the progress of different players plus make some adjustments to the game playing environment. Different audio output levels can be set for elements such as music, sound effects, environment and the voice dialogue delivered by voice actors. Other options available for selection include playing in full or wide screen mode; the use of a custom cursor; and adjusting the gamma or brightness level of the various scenes.
When playing the game, you have a choice of Casual, Advanced or Hardcore level of difficulty. In the case of Casual level you have assistance with the appearance of glints and sparkles to identify areas of interest plus a fast recharge rate for the Hint feature. Advanced level does not use sparkles and takes longer to recharge the Hint feature. More experienced adventure gamers can opt for Hardcore level which offers no help and even removes the option to skip any of the mini games encountered at various intervals that might prove difficult to complete.
The game is based around the mining town of Stoneville that is teeming with elements of myths and magic. Legend has it that the town benefits from the protection of the Stone Queen who rewards miners with precious jewels and keeps them safe from danger in the mine. But recently the town has fallen on hard times with the mine being boarded up.
Following a message from your Uncle Oliver, who had decided to investigate the going-ons at Stoneville, you decide to carry out your own investigation into the situation. Running across the bottom of the different scenes, making up the various locations that encompass Stoneville, are the tools to help assist your investigation that takes on a more personal aspect when you discover it involves the health of your favourite cousin Brandon.
Taking up a central position in the tools is the game's inventory holding those items you collect at varying intervals Any items that can fulfil a dual purpose during the game will be automatically returned to the inventory after its first use. This certainly helps stop you worrying whether an object might be needed later.
To the right of the inventory is the Hint feature presented in the form of a collection of crystals. This Hint feature tends to offer a suggestion regarding your next action, such as find a bucket and soak it with a medical preparation, rather that point to an area of the scene. Located to the left of the inventory is a compass which acts as the game's map feature. Using appropriate icons, the map will indicate your current location, undiscovered areas, locations yet to be unlocked and places were fast transition is available.
As you travel around the various areas of Stoneville you will meet other characters. Conversations will take place in such instances, with the dialogue presented in text format and spoken with the delivery provided by voice actors. Although these conversations might include important information, they do not involve any facial movements by the onscreen characters.
Hidden Object game play has its role to play in this adventure. The familiar format of combining a cluttered scene, with a text list of items to be located, is presented to the player. Items in the list coloured green will mean an additional action will be required before the object can be selected. A reward of one of the items found will be given at the conclusion of each Hidden Object scene. Also dotted throughout the game are various cut-scenes helping move along the flow of the game. There are also a number of mini games which provide a mixture of innovation, style of play and are challenging.
Those looking to take on the challenge of The Stone Queen should be able to download a copy of this game from Big Fish Games at a cost of $2.99. The game requires a 1.0 GHz processor with 512MB of RAM and 658MB of hard disk space running Windows XP and later.
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