April 28, 2009
The mean, cruel and cold-blooded tyrant Ceville ruthlessly rules the beautiful kingdom of Faeryanis. Or rather, he used to rule the beautiful kingdom of Faeryanis, until the brave people revolted against his regime and drove him out of the palace.
The kindhearted queen Gwendolyn stepped up to reign over the land with a council of noble and wise advisers. It seems that this story could end just like any other fairy tale: "And they lived happily ever after..." But no, that's not quite right. Because another evil rises within the land. The treacherous Basilus - counselor of Gwendolyn and of Ceville before her - plans to take the crown and torture the realm with the help of murderous beasts he has summoned from the planes of eternal darkness.
All seems lost! But hope resides with the one most unlikely person imaginable to save the kingdom and restore peace to the realm: Ceville, the realm's former despotic ruler...
The game has three playable main characters: Ceville, the ancient ruler of Faeryanis, the spare-time tyrant, Ambrosius, a noble and somewhat self-important knight and Lilly, the gentle and kind little girl.
This game will give you an impression of what might happen if you mixed up the settings and humor of Shrek, Discworld and the Monkey Island series.
First of all, let me present you with the main character of this evil fairytale. The evil Ceville is short in stature and rules his kingdom with an iron fist. Everything must be done Ceville's way. Those who don't will pay the price of insubordination. His only purpose in life is to make people around him suffer. I think perhaps Ceville wasn't loved by his parents as a child or maybe he was teased a lot as a teenager. In any case, since he has nothing good to offer the world, he decided to be the king of evil thinking that by doing so he would at least be remembered. Could his being short make him think this is the only way he can be remembered? Ceville isn't really evil. He is only a brat who never had a good role model to learn from. He is like he is because he doesn't know any different. Most of the time, he acts like a kid. Perhaps a good smack on the head might help to put his ideas back in the right place.
As game players, we almost always play good characters and it's fun to be able to be an evil brat for a change. Ceville isn't our regular fairytale even if there is some similarity with the ones we heard as kids: a fairy, a king, a castle, a knight and some people who need to be saved. The game includes a lot of those fairytale stereotypes, but also has some brand new elements that make the game more interesting. In some ways the game is a bit like The Grinch Who Stole Christmas because we can see that there is really a heart hidden in the monster.
Graphics and Gameplay
Ceville is a traditional third-person point and click adventure using both left click and right click. The inventory is always available at the bottom of the screen and it is very quick and easy to pick up and use different objects. There is a lot of walking in the game, but you will be glad to know that at some point in the game you will gain access to a map that will allow you to go from one place to another more quickly. You can use the space bar if you want to know where the hot spots and exits are. To access the main menu, you just have to press ESC. You can make quick saves without having to go into the main menu by pressing F5. For those who enjoy collecting screenshots, every time you press PRINT SCREEN, images are saved in a screen sub-folder in the saved games folder.
You will be able to play parts of the game as Ceville, Lilly and Ambrosius. You only have to click on their photos located above the inventory bar to switch from one to another. Some things won't be triggered if you don't have the right character selected.
The gameplay can be seen from different camera angles. The only problem with this feature is that some times you might miss something interesting if you are not in the right place to see it. For example, you are exiting a building and you wait on the porch after exiting. On the porch, you see there is something interesting to investigate on the left side of the stairs. Unfortunately, you can't click on what you want to see and go there right away. You must go down the stairs first and when you are at the bottom of the stairs, you can no longer see what you wanted to investigate. You know where the item is, but even if you click on where the item is supposed to be, you will need to keep trying from different angles to finally get to where you want to be. There were also several minor incidents when even if I knew where an object was, I had to scroll that screen area with the cursor before finally being able to pick it up. While you are waiting for the game to load, you will get a few tricks to help you in your gameplay.
There are several beautiful locations to explore. They are very colorful and bright and the fairytale atmosphere is very enjoyable. Like in old cartoons, some objects are bigger than real life - a sword almost bigger than the character using it for example. It was fun to have three characters to play with, but it was difficult sometimes to know what each one needed to do to advance in the game. Sometimes team effort is needed to complete a task. I can't say there is a lot of animation in each scene, but when there is some, it is worth waiting for. A couple of cut scenes, placed at the right spots make the game more complete.
The outcome of the story is very predictable. There are not a lot of surprises and the story gets lost at some points. Parts of the story that needed to be elaborated on weren't and some parts were elaborated on that you would rather hadn't been.
Most of the puzzles are inventory based. Finding the objects that need to be combined together is a bigger task than the combinations themselves. When you have the right objects in the inventory, it is very easy to know which ones can be combined and what the purpose of the new object will be. There are also some timed sequence puzzles, but they are not contests of speed or dexterity. The time given is only there to stress you a bit when you need to think. There were also puzzles where you needed to arrange some events in a certain order to get the appropriate result. It wasn't difficult, but a bit of thinking is needed. Don't hesitate to think through the puzzles and try different things. The only thing that will happen if you fail is you will need to start all over again.
Interesting facts about the game
Quick save game feature, by just pressing F5
- Amazing cartoonish images and characters
- By pressing the space bar, you can see all the hotspots and possible exits
- The screenshots are automatically saved in their own folder
Dialogue and Sound
There is a lot of dialogue during the game. Sometimes several choices are available and you can decide to answer as Lilly or Ceville. But none of the choices will stop you from moving forward. The voices selected by the developer were very effective for each character. The music is quite relaxing and changes depending on the situation you are in. The sound effects aren't outstanding, but they are adequate.
Bugs and/or patches
Initially, the game would not install on my computer. A message popped up that I didn't have the minimum requirements for XP to install the game. However, I have Vista on my machine. After some searching by Robert and Draclvr, I found that I needed to install the .NET Framework 3.5. The game is supposed to install it if needed, but I ended up having to download it from the Microsoft website and install myself. After that, the game installed with no problems. The game also froze a couple of times, sometimes when trying to save. After it happened to me twice, I used the quick save key (F5).
There is an official patch for the game which address video playback on some setups
OS: Windows® XP & Vista
Processor: minimum 1.6 GHz
RAM: 512 MB
Disc space 2 GB
Video Card 128 MB
My computer specifications:
OS: Windows Vista SP1
RAM: 3072 MB
Processor: Intel (R) Core (TM) 2 Duo 3.00 Go
Video Card: NVIDIA GeForce 8500 GT
Sound: Onboard Sound Controller
Disk space: 1st 221Go and 2nd 266 Go
Ceville is an easy game with no mind-bending puzzles. The outcome is predictable most of the time and there are not a lot of surprises. Lilly was a fun character to play, and Ceville in his evilness was also fun to play.
Great efforts were made by the developer to make Ceville look like an old fashioned game. The graphics and characters were very beautiful. There was a lot of humor used during the game. Sometimes it was predictable and other times I had a good laugh.
So you have a battle between evil and evil, a journey into the magical world of fairies and an ugly dictator whom we hope will become a better person as the story unfolds. You will find that choosing a savior from between two evil people isn't as easy as it sounds, but in the end, isn't it better to choose an evil we know instead of one we don't?