Friday, February 3, 2012

Game Review - Awakening: The Goblin Kingdom

Game Review - Awakening: The Goblin Kingdom (v1.0)

Score +3/-4


Awakening: The Goblin Kingdom is the third episode in a fairy tale story that began with Awakening: The Dreamless Castle and Awakening: Moonfell Wood. The artwork is beautiful and has many generic fairy tale elements and creatures. It is equal parts hidden object game and a series of minigames which you are allowed to skip.
+ Beautiful fantasy artwork and good music score.
+ The hidden object game action does not rely on objects scattered about other implausibly sized and positioned clutter.
+ There is a good range of puzzles to the minigames.
- Some of the puzzles don't work very well. For example, the draw-in-the-lines puzzle in the Fungal Forest has poor completion detection. Even the Strategy Guide mentions that it may be necessary to add more to the ends/corners in case the game doesn't detect it correctly. This should have been fixed instead of having to mention it as a hint.
- Some later areas need more playtesting. For example, in the Fungal Forest, there is a coin on the edge of a basin, and nothing preventing you from picking up except that the game is scripted to not allow it. This is highly counterintuitive since the coin is right there in plain view, and later in the game you can in fact pick it up. Another instance of bad playtesting/game choices is the clear-the-board match-3 game at the end of the GobHolme chapter are unnecessarily tedious because you are simply waiting for the correct pieces to appear so you can match them. If you wait long enough you will get what you need, but this can be a very long wait and it wastes the player's time with something that is not related to their skill at all. This should have been adjusted after playtesting. If it were deliberately kept, then this is a grossly bad design choice.
- The strategy guide for one of the clear-the-board puzzles in the Fungal Forest does not in fact work.
- The reasoning behind some actions is inconsistent. For example, at the icy train station you are not allowed to use your dragon to melt ice because it might burn down the train car. But later in the goblin palace, you can use your dragon on a small wooden panel without fear of burning up whatever is behind it.

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