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Title: The Order of the Thorne - The King's Challenge
Genre: Adventure, Indie
Release Date: 26 Jan, 2016
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The Order of the Throne - The King's Challenge is a nice, fun, easy to play Point & Click Adventure game which is in many ways meant to mimic the style and formula of Sierra's classic King's Quest series.
First off, the graphics are intentionally meant to look retro in the style of early 90's P&C games. Knowing that, I wouldn't be expecting something like HD quality 3D animations or movie like cinematics. I was expecting pixelated graphics and that's what I got. Considering the style they used I'd say the graphcs were actually pretty good. Nice hand drawn backgrounds, sprites, animations. All of them probably taking hours of labor and a love of classic games in this style to create. Some of the scenes are quite lovely others are a little mediocre but overall very nice.
The sound however isn't quite on par with the graphics. Most of the voice clips are good or decent quality but there's an unexpectedly large number of voices that sound poorly recorded. The worst is the narrator who is not only poorly recorded but whose voice and accent I find abhorrent. His voice is extremely grating. The accent is excessively fake and supremely annoying. It's fine to have characters with accents even ones that sound fake but the narrators voice is someone who is trying too hard and completely failing in every conceivable way. The overall voice acting quality (excluding the narrator) was decent, not the greatest but reasonable. The scripting however left something to be desired. Though it strives to evoke a sense of King's Quest nostalgia it lacks the humor and quality writing. It also lacks a compelling story. King's Quest 1 actually didn't have a very compelling story either but if got away with it because there wasn't anything like it and it was a new thing. It really pioneered the genre. Order of the Throne however, coming on the scene in this day and age really should have brought a little more to the table. The game was planned as a series so I'm hoping that they will be able to create more compelling stories in future releases and I look forward to seeing the next installment either way.
The interface is only okay. There were many times when you try to click the edge of the screen to exit but you just walk to the edge of the screen. Sometimes finding the right spot to exit seemed overly frustrating having to walk away again before being able to click the exit. I found the menu's to be very disappointing. They didn't really feel like they matched the game and seemed a little busy and crowded. I wasn't a fan of the lute playing menu. It's part of the puzzle (especially if you want to get all the achievements) but I felt like it wasted time showing you each song and you couldn't just look at what each song was without having to go through the demonstration each time.
The puzzles in the game are pretty logical and straightforward. IF you read through the dialogues and think it trough the puzzles are mostly pretty easy. If you somehow get stuck just remember to talk to everyone and exhaust all options and then of course try combining inventory items and using them on your surroundings.
There are several achievements in the game most are completely unmissable I can only think of one that might be able to miss. Most will come naturally as you play the game but don't require much effort on the part of the player to achieve. This is a little disappointing as I prefer that there be at least a few achievements that are actually a challenge and require you to put some effort into achieving. The only one I think you could miss (which is the only one that really involves and effort) is the one that requires you to play each song on your lute in "hard mode" it can be missed if you decide to let Finn auto play songs in "easy mode".
One of the major drawbacks of the game is that it's so short. I played through only once with a recorded play time of 5.7 hours... however, I left the game running on my computer for about 3 hours as I walked away from it. So real playtime is more like 2.7 hours (let's just generously round up and say 3 hours) at the full price of $9.99 that's about $3\/hour of playtime, not in my opinion the best payoff at that price point. If you can get it on sale (and it has gone on sale frequently) then it becomes a much better buy.
Overall it's fun, moderately easy, and a good way to kill a few hours.. The Order of the Thorne - King's Challenge!
This game is one that I've seen in recent years that has tried to stay true to the old classic Lucasart and Sierra games of the day. This is a good and a bad thing. I found the game to be pleasantly enjoyable in many reguards as I took a walk down memory lane and thought about some of the old games that I had played. The dilemma comes with the reasoning that since the game came out in 2016 it should look and feel much better than the classics as these games did not have the technology to produce the graphics we have today. So while I liked the game generally, here are some pros and cons of the game.
The art of many of the backgrounds is good and the art for the portraits are amazing.
The music is easily enjoyed.
Finn is a great main character.
There are some great easter eggs that pay tribute to the classics. I don't even think I caught them all.
Game is a little short (3ish hours) and the storyline seems underdeveloped, since this is only the first what seems to be quite a few games (Intros are never that good, as the world and characters have to be setup).
The animations (not the art) seem lacking and the scale sometimes felt off. Some examples being a boat that does not rotate to dock, but instead rows past the dock and diagonally back to it (if you can picture that) or the size of buildings next to Finn.
I also didn't feel like a few characters did not line up with the fantasy world. These were the raptors and sloths. I understand that a game like KQ6 or KQ7 had a ton of weird characters, but the way the island/land seemed to seperate them allowed the game to feel more believable. This seemed more like a bunch of random characters.
For me, this game may not be able to compete with Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's revenge (MY all time favorite point and click). But I still think the game is a good one and do recommend the game for anyone with a liking to point and click adventures, especially if you really enjoyed the old school games back in the day and all its pixel glory. I look forward to future games and understand that what they have been able to accomplish from where they have been is quite miraculous.
P.S. The game runs at 320 x 200 and can scale up, but if you have a computer like mine you will be left with some black borders around the edge, which I don't mind but some people do.. A very nice quest retaining the spirit of the good old ones but with no dead ends and pixelhunting. Looking forward to play the Fortress of Fire!. The throw-back graphics and vibes was combined well with the medieval/fantasy elements. My biggest complaint is the amount of backtracking. The scenery is very pretty, but I didn't want to go through it 5 billion Times. The classic, whismically silly sort of faerie tale was well told and created. (The soundtrack was dope, lmao)
Good game, but a little tedious.. Did you enjoy the worlds of King's Quest? Take a jaunt through a fantasy land as a bard!. It's a nice game, the visuals are great (if you like pixelstyle) the music is alright and the voiceacting is quite good. The game mechanics are solid and exept for problems from the steam overlay I couldn't find a single bug. I especially liked the bardsongs (though there could be a slight improvement so that you wouldn't have to "listen" to the song everytime before playing it but just play it and the game recognizes it) as they gave the game a very nice extra much like in Loom for example. I also enjoyed the easter eggs throughout the game. The story-quality overall is hard to tell as this game only serves as an introduction but that part is good so far, but herein lies maybe the games biggest flaw it took me about three hours to finish (had some idling and such) and I got all achievements (I guess you automatically get them all?) so it's pretty short (well it's just 10 bucks so that's alright with me).
Overall I'd say 4/5 and a definitive recommendation.
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