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Title: Dark Realm 2: Princess of Ice
By: Mad Head Games [Facebook]
Started: August 25th, 2015
Finished: August 26th, 2015
Duration: 4 hours and 35 minutes (they even give you the time of your game play too! How awesome is that)
Played with: Munchlax
Difficulty level: Blizzard
Ratings: 9/10
Full Screen off available on laptop 

August 26th, 2015

Hey there!!
How’s everyone doing? I’ve been doing… all right… and I hope that this post finds you in great shape and health! This is the first Hidden Object Game that I’ve played for the month of August 2015, and I must say that it quite impressed me, here’s why [by the way there may be some spoilers to the game though, so please read with caution]:

First of all, wow, the story was pretty nice, even though obviously, the main interest of the Princess would be someone that has appeared since the beginning, that would only make sense… since he loves the Princess of Ice so much that he would help her from the shadows, going as far as reaching another Kingdom’s Queen – that’s right, we play a Queen [I think we played the Queen of Fire (which is the first installment of the Dark Realm series) before, but I can’t be certain, I’ll have to verify this, because this game is so good I wouldn’t mind re-playing the first one either, and this is why I wouldn’t be able to tell you if there were continuity and callbacks for the first game – however, I know that there were because characters from the kingdoms that we’d realistically probably helped in the first game came to our rescue a couple of times in the story, and it blended pretty all right too (even though by the end of the game, I’m not sure what happens to that romance story (I really hope that it gets touched upon later in the next installment of the game))] – in order to help her. By the end of the game, most loose ends were tied up – except, again, the romance between two of the protagonists, which I’m still hoping they’ll touch up on in the third game, especially since they sort of hinted at some kind of development? I hope they don’t leave us hanging, I’d hate that…

Now, for the Bonus Game, you should know I’m not a fan of Bonus Games that go into the past, especially if you play the character of the antagonist, as almost like an attempt to redeem him/her. However, in this one, I liked, because you found out the reason why the antagonist became such a character, and that he really wasn’t that bad before. I hope that we’ll see his sister team up with the Princess of Ice and the Queen of Flames, and kick the dark demon’s butt in the third game (indeed, they’ve hinted (both in the main game and in the bonus game) that there would be a third installment, I can’t wait!!!

While the characters didn’t all appear for a long period of time [so obviously, there weren’t much development there], it was nice that the creators took care of making sure the characters had different ‘accents’ or something dissimilar to the other characters in their tones, in their accents and/or in their mannerisms. Not only that, but they did well in making sure that we knew where to go without providing us with too many hints (then again, I was in Blizzard mode, so who knows, maybe it was just as easy for easier levels? I’m not sure). Also, I guess, what kind of shady father/king would send his daughter to wed a prince who’s so incredibly and obviously evil? I don’t know, it was pretty obvious from the start that he was up to no good, I wonder if that’s why his wife only appeared in flashbacks [question: can Queens divorce their Kings and still get away with their lives?].

The voice actors were really good, as you might imagine, I was really surprised. The dialogues were fine, if not a little bit on the ‘cliche’ side, but they did such a brilliant job with making the adventure interesting that it made up for it in my opinion. It was difficult to follow the flow of certain dialogues because you’d have to click on their ‘subtitle’ in order for the NPC (or your own character, Queen Valera) to speak. I do understand that some people love skipping the story/dialogues because they don’t feel like they need it, but I thought it was pretty nice, so I would endure with it.

And what shall I say about all the effects that came into this story?! The art style was amazing, the details were great [just look at this Work in Progress that they posted on their Facebook Page]! Sometimes, I just stopped a little bit and stared in awe at the eye candy [in terms of landscapes and fine attention to detail] that they provided for us in multiple tableaux. I liked the ‘visual effects‘ for the way the characters’ mouths moved to the way they illustrated magical things also [perhaps my only complaint would be that the bear claw holding a “special” required item (in order to somehow upgrade it into a more powerful level), took a bit too long and was somehow redundant. The counter-argument to this is that while I waited for that particular animation to be done, at least I had time to think about what the next course of action was, or had time to go write down some notes for my review of this game, haha, so it wasn’t completely bad?].

Something else that was pretty nice and, even more important: unique, was the interactiveness of multi-panels [for lack of better terminology]. You could have one panel that opened when you reached a certain area of a board, but then you could open other “panels/windows” that also were other areas of the same board. And you would have to interact with each one of them in order to acquire/solve whatever it is you acquire/solve.

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Not only that, but the soundtrack was pretty nice and diverse too, providing us with the proper “action” music whenever we were attacked [it provided which the sense of urgency for, which sort of made me want to solve the puzzles faster], or when “time is of the essence“. We also had pretty good ‘puzzle’ music and traveling soundtracks. It wasn’t too redundant as to make me go “GUH THIS IS SO ANNOYING *head-desks*” and it definitely didn’t make me focus only on the music and not on the game.

In terms of Hidden Object Boards, they were pretty standard, interactive lost-and-found that we’d already experienced before, so they weren’t anything too difficult [I will note that some of these Hidden Object Boards were fun because they didn’t always feel like Hidden Object Boards, some of them were that well integrated into the game]. The Puzzles, now, were well varied and, depending on their difficulty, pretty fun to go through. One of them was a type of race where you’d have to click on arrows in order to avoid colliding with certain objects. A notably difficult puzzle was one in which we would have to turn discs around in order to arrive to a particular solution, it was difficult because the knobs kept turning other discs as well. Both Munchlax and I had much difficulties in that one, haha. I loved the “fight scenes” that we had against certain characters, those were pretty innovative as well [some of the better integrated and well-made fight moments that I’ve seen from a HOG anyway]!!

The Collectible in this one is sort of like a “crown” which you can find in every single map. Not only that – and this isn’t the first HOG that features this – some Hidden Object Boards will also have a Morphing Object (I did NOT come back to waste my time on that because I know I’m just THAT BAD with Morphing Objects). I love this, especially because you can actually go back and collect them in the locations you might have missed. I actually spent a good thirty minutes on this when the game was over. It offers you a chance to study the landscape that Mad Head Games have worked really hard on, which I absolutely loved! Once you found all of the crowns, they also give you the possibility of doing their ultimate Hidden Object Board, which is full of objects, with a LOT of items to find. It was crazy, and also really fun to do [and try to achieve with 100% accuracy, which I succeeded the second time]!!


All right, that’s it for me tonight,
I’ll go hit the hay now if you don’t mind!
See you all next month!
《/( ̄(エ) ̄)ゞ》Ponyta’s out 《/( ̄(エ) ̄)ゞ》

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