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Restoring a Kingdom
While a short snappy title might suit a particular game, a longer title, such as “The Enthralling Realms – The Witch and the Elven Princess”, can give you some idea as to what you are in for when taking on its challenge. This lengthy title offering makes a return to the environment that featured Avis, the master alchemist who has his own school of alchemy, and two orphaned girls, Coral and Iris, who became pupils of Avis. The adventures of these three characters were recounted in “The Enthralling Realms – An Alchemist’s Tale”.
Now we have a follow-up title as the Elven Kingdom comes under attack from dark forces who are intent of taking possession of the Sacred Stone whose magic protected the Elven Kingdom. Led by the evil Nightflames, the dark forces invaded the Kingdom and in the ensuing battle, the Elven King died and the Sacred Stone was stolen. At this point, Aravia, the Elven Princess, returned from her travels and immediately seeks out the help of a witch to restore the realm to its former glory in the tale of the “Witch and the Elven Princess”..
Developed by e-FunSoft Games, this latest episode of The Enthralling Realms belongs to the Match 3 genre of grids filled with a mixture of tiles and various other elements. Spread over chapters that include Blackwoods, Crystal Lake, Elven Temple, Sacred Heights and Elder Forest, the game uses the standard Match 3 format of swapping two adjacent embellished tiles to create a group of three or more tiles of the same type.
As well as the tiles, the grids can contain jewel rings, which need to be guided towards the bottom of the grid, and an occasional blank cell. In some cases, individual cells will be protected by single and double strands of chains which will need to be removed while other cells will change their appearance when clicked on or become wandering spiders to add their webs to other cells. Certain sections of each grid will feature a coloured background. It is these areas which will need to be cleared as part of the challenge set for each of the 74 levels making up this game.
Running down the right side of the current grid are indicators showing the number of various elements which need to be removed while the opposite side of the grid shows icons representing performance in various aspects. There is also a Tools option which, when selected, pops out a cabinet of tools. However these tools are all greyed out and seem to serve no purpose whatsoever as far as I was able to ascertain. Maybe these tools had something to do with power-ups but this was another aspect of the game that I been unable to get to grips with as I have yet to discover any power-ups in this tale of a witch and the Elven Princess.
The apparent lack of power-ups certainly added to the difficulty of this Match 3 offering. This is especially true when the grid is split apart into different segments. Fortunately there is an option to restart a particular level when you feel that no further progress is possible to complete a challenge. It was noticeable that the only times I made use of the restart option was when split grids were involved.
At the conclusion of each level you are presented with a shield showing the time taken along with the stars and points earned. The stars are of a particular relevance as these are used to purchase the four upgrades that are required for each chapter. These upgrades add elements to the realm to improve conditions for the inhabitants. All four upgrades must be purchased before moving on to the next chapter.
Between the different levels, various story-enhancing features have been inserted. These interludes consist of two completely static characters superimposed on a rather insipid flat background. Using speech bubbles to display the dialogue, the two characters will conduct a brief conversation. This is another disappointing aspect of the game which really failed to excite me despite keeping me occupied for several long sessions.
My copy of this game was downloaded from Gamehouse.com. You can download a trial version of the game before purchasing an unrestricted version for $9.99. System requirements call for a 1.5 GHz processor with 1024MB of RAM and 84MB of hard disk space running Windows 7 and later.
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