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A Prince Goes Missing
If I mention that The Enthralling Realms - Knights & Orcs comes from the development team at eFunsoft then you would not be surprised to hear that this game belongs to the Match-3 genre. Using the familiar format of creating groups of three or more similarly embellished tiles, arranged on a grid, by switching two adjacent tiles, this game is based on the never-ending war between the orcs and humans.
Prior to entering this theatre of war, you can create profiles and make adjustments to the gaming environment. By creating profiles, different people can play the game and have their progress recorded. Adjustments can be made to the volume levels for background music and sound effects including the dialogue between characters plus announcements of any achievements. The game can be played in full screen mode and have tutorial messages delivered to the player.
The story opens as a declared peace and agreement over boundaries between orcs and humans had been agreed. Unfortunately the reduction in hostilities has tempted the King's youngest, impetuous son to venture into an orc village, for whatever reason we can only guess. His arrival in the village occurred simultaneously as it was attacked and destroyed by the monstrous forces of the ancient being known as Darksoul. The young prince was one of those taken prisoner and spirited away to Darksoul territory. While the King was unwilling to risk all-out war be sending a force to rescue his son, his daughter, Princess Miriel, had other ideas. She set out to rescue her brother.
You are cast in the role of Princess Miriel who, on arriving at the orc village to find it in flames, rescues a travelling bard called Percival. He pledges to help the princess in her task of rescuing her brother by completing numerous Match-3 grids. As usual these grids are filled with embellished tiles that change in design to reflect the stage of the story. Some of the tiles will have layers of protection in the form of spider webs or single and double strands of chain. These protective layers and wooden boxes, scattered around the grid, can be removed by the construction of matched groups.
Each grid has its own specific challenge which will need to be completed. These challenges consist of clearing away a certain number and type of tiles including Jewelled Medals which, unlike the other tiles, need to be removed from the grid by directing them towards the bottom of the grid. The challenge will be displayed on the right of the grid and will be updated as progress is made.
Arranged on the left of the grid is an up-to-date report on the number of tiles and cells cleared plus stars earned for completing the various grids. The stars have an important role to play in this game which is spread over five chapters. Each chapter features four specific upgrades which must be purchased using stars in order to progress to the next chapter.
Available after the successful completion of each grid, the Upgrade feature can also be used to purchase tools and a new costume for your screen character who, from time to time, meets up with the previously mentioned Percival, a knight called Godfrey, Dargog an orc leader, Cagaret the orc King, Darksoul and his lieutenant Nightsoul. These meeting involve spoken and printed dialogue from the static onscreen characters. The way the game ends, it does leave an opportunity for a follow-up title either involving further dispute between the humans and orcs or tracking down Darksoul's forces.
I enjoyed playing the game although there were a could of occasions when I needed to restart a grid as a tile refused to be cleared when it formed part of a Match-3 group. While the sound effects feature the noise of hand-to-hand combat, there are no actual fight scenes in the game. I downloaded my copy of the game from Gamehouse.com where it is priced at $9.99. The game requires a 1.5 GHz processor with 1024MB of RAM and 925MB of hard disk space running Windows 7 and later.
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