Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Robbing the Princess

I'm one of the first to admit that it's the depth of the story, not the complexity of the puzzles that attracts me to a game. Who wants to have every square inch of their brain challenged while they could be discovering deep family mysteries or having a conversation with that guy they thought was dead in Episode 2?

Sometimes, however, the alternative can prove refreshing. Alec and Suzy have tracked a stolen crate to a ship called the Princess. They have to find a way to get on board to recover its contents. Who are Alec and Suzy? Who knows! Empirical logic suggests they're not the rozzers (they have to break in) so we have to guess that the theft of the crate impacted them. Who stole it? Search me. And what's in the crate? It's a mystery. Not a Pulp Fiction-style 'what's in the suitcase?' mystery but a 'why do you care, just recover the darned thing' type mystery.

But the intention of creator OneDollar was not to skip massive story elements and hope the players filled things in. The intent is obvious; it does not matter why you want this crate, who you are, and why you find it acceptable to semi-poison sailors for their clothes. A back story is futile. Your objective is clear.

And thus, the reviewer then has to rate the game by its content. And, ladies and gentlemen, Robbing the Princess is hard. This critic is ashamed to admit he referred to the walkthru more times than he should for such a short game. The puzzles are fiendishly intricate, and for such a short game there's a lot to puzzle over. The game feature of switching between two player characters not only shows a high level of initative on OneDollar's part, it also creates an opportunity for complicated and challenging puzzles as Alec and Suzy have to swap items that the other can successfully operate.

The game was made in 25 days (a MAGS entry) and the workmanship is evident. And the total lack of music is not as much of an issue as it could be; music is essential to edgy horror and epic fantasy games, but for puzzle games ordered around challenge rather than storytelling it's not exactly missed. The artwork is crisp and looks impressive on the window size.

So to conclude, Robbing the Princess is a fun, challenging and extremely well-made game. The comparable length means that it won't get massive replay value, but I certainly enjoyed myself.

Final Score: 7/10

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