They say what goes around comes around and, as with fashion, so with computer games: particular themes and styles have a habit of reappearing according to public taste.
Animated puzzle adventure games with a comic twist were all the rage when LucasArts were producing games like the Monkey Island series and Full Throttle and then they suddenly died the death. Now we’ve seen a recent revival with titles like A Vampyre Story, Dracula Origin, Jack Keane and the latest foray into the genre from Kalypso Media: Ceville.
The anti-hero is the diminutive despot of the title who ruled tyrannically over the idyllic realm of Faeryanis which is populated by figures from myths and legends. However, when the game begins Ceville is being besieged in his castle by rebels stirred up by his treacherous former advisor Basilius who has plans to rule the country himself with his demon cohorts. The council has been summoned to nominate the new ruler and Ceville finds himself in the unlikely role of the good guy trying to ensure that the kind hearted Queen Gwendolyn is preferred to the scheming Basilius.
As the game progresses you will have the opportunity to play as two additional characters: the gentle young orphan Lily and the completely narcissistic and ineffectual paladin Ambrosius. At times you have to decide between two of the characters when trying to perform a task and the solution may be achieved by a cynical or optimistic approach.
The gameplay is a complete return to basics. Point-n’-click with the left mouse button to move, hovering the cursor over an object determines whether you view, pick up or action, and objects can be chosen and combined from the onscreen inventory. As ever, several puzzles can be solved through following through dialogue options and listening carefully to requests and needs.
Thankfully, Kalypso have decided to keep the puzzles relatively logical and linear and throughout there’s a strong undercurrent of subversive humour. At one point Ceville has to interrupt a good citizenship class given by the Good Fairy to former villains and later he has to help a hippy elf by sabotaging a mechanical tree-feller run by a greedy corporate dwarf. There are frequent asides and references to popular culture, recent films and beloved fairy tales, always peppered with Ceville’s caustic comments and practical jokes.
Like most games of this type, it’s unlikely to be replayed once you’ve zoomed through it and the music does become repetitive after a short while, but Ceville is visually creative, the puzzles are fun, the characters are engaging and there are plenty of chuckles to be had before you reach the denouement.
Company: Kalypso Media