Fairy Tale About Father Frost, Ivan and Nastya  
by Fairygdmther
March 31, 2004

 

Once upon a time there was a Russian fairy tale that was told to children to teach them to be compassionate and help others and to not be selfish or vain.  Centaur Productions with Bohemia Interactive Studios has made this into a game that can be shared with children all over the world.  Like all fairy tales the story is simplistic and moving.  It begins as a grandmother tells the story to her two grandchildren before their bedtime.  Nastya (Nastienka) is a young woman who lives with her elderly father, her evil stepmother, and spoiled stepsister.  Nastienka must do all the chores, feed the animals, and cook the meals, yet can never please her stepmother, who always calls her terrible names.

There is also Ivan (Vanya) who is a young man who goes off to see the world, and to find himself a bride.  He is handsome, though vain and arrogant, and he must pay the price of his insensitivity.  When they meet he knows that this will be his wife, his own Nastienka, though fate tears them apart.  He must mend his ways before he will be worthy of this woman, and she must carry on until he can rescue her from her fate.  As in all fairy tales, the evil will be punished, the good will be rewarded, and they will all live happily ever after.

Fairy Tale has enough magic and ghosts and even a dragon, so that most children would be pleased with this game.  It is one to be shared with an adult, though, to help through the difficult parts.  The puzzles are inventory based, and blend well with the story line.  There are no mazes, no pixel hunts, and you cannot die.  There are no difficult puzzles, though you may wonder what to do next to continue the story along.  You play in a third person perspective, as either Nastienka or Vanya.  There are many cutscenes used to further explain the story, but these are blended well with the game.  The graphics are Disneyesque cartoon style, which lends itself well to this story.  Voice acting is well done as a whole, though a bit over the top with some ancillary characters.  The music background is flowing, elegant and lovely, setting the proper mood for the events at the time.

Navigation through the game is well done with a point and click interface.  Travel from one area to the next is quickly accomplished with the use of labeled windows showing destination options.  Picking up objects works easily with a left click, but using the items from inventory isn’t always as easy – sometimes selecting the inventory item from the top of the screen and then applying it to where you want can get a bit iffy, you’ll often have to do it several times to get it to work.  This appears to be the only “bug” in the game, which works easily and intuitively most of the time.

Summary: This is a delightful cartoon fairy tale game reminiscent of Cinderella.  Most younger children will love this well presented game. It is divided into four parts, each of which could provide an evening’s entertainment if played with a child as an interactive bedtime story.  For an adult, the story is told in moral absolutes with little character development, but I don’t consider that a flaw for a fairy tale. It does what it sets out to do in a sweet, colorful and somewhat moralistic way, though the didacticism isn’t overdone.

Score: 9.8/10

With the editing skills of my friend Bacardi Jim, as usual - thanks BJ!

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