Dark Parables: The Ballad of Rapunzel (Bigfishgames.com)

When the detective investigates poisonous pollen, she finds that it is in the control of the beautiful princess Rapunzel. Why does Rapunzel control the pollen and will the detective stop it in time?

That’s right; we finally got to the story of Rapunzel. This is your typical Dark Parables story with the mixture of different fairy tale characters. Other than that, I can’t say much about the plot.

The game play is your typical hidden object. You go from scene to scene collecting items for your inventory. Some items will require that you take part in a hidden object scene. You can use the map to figure out where you need to go. If you’re stuck, use a hint.

This game is dull. I give it 2 out of 10; I wasn’t in a game playing mood when I played it.

Dark Parables: Jack and the Sky Kingdom (Bigfishgames.com)

The Fairytale Detective is back and this time he/she has to investigate the Sky Kingdom. The only ally he or she has is a mysterious treasure hunter named Jack.

The Dark Parables series is back and this time it’s taking on Jack and the Beanstalk. This game also takes on the legend of Rumpelstiltskin. I don’t have much to say about the plot except that you discover the back story of it as you go.

The game is typical hidden object. You travel throughout the scene collecting items for your inventory. You also have to partake in hidden object scenes but instead of finding a list of random objects in order to only add one to your inventory, you have to collect the pieces of the item you get.

You can also collect hidden parables to slowly discover the story of how everything came to be. The Collector’s Edition includes bonus content such as more game play.

This game is addictive and intriguing. I give it 8 out of 10; the Dark Parables series hasn’t died yet.

Fables: The Wolf Among Us Episode 1: Faith (Steam Store)

When Snow White and Bigby Wolf find a young woman’s head on their apartment entrance they set out to find the killer.  Now they must search all of Fabletown to solve the mystery once and for all.

For those of you who don’t know, Fables is a comic book series about public domain characters having to flee their homeland and reside in New York.  While not part of mainstream pop-culture, the shows Once Upon A Time and Grimm wouldn’t be around if not for this series.  Fables is also the inspiration for a series of hidden object games called Dark Parables.  The storyline for this game focuses more on the detective noir aspects than the comics ever did.  The game also shows you how much many fables had to leave behind in order to live in our world.  I don’t want to spoil anything but let me tell you that some fables really can’t adapt to our world very well.

The game play is the same as it was in The Walking Dead Game.  You make dialogue choices for Bigby Wolf and make decisions for him at crucial moments.  The decisions here aren’t as sadistic as the ones in The Walking Dead due to this game having a more detective nature.  You also explore certain scenes and collect what you can while investigating crime scenes and connecting the evidence.  Another aspect that makes it different from The Walking Dead is that you can collect information on Fabletown and its inhabitants to review later.

This game is addictive and intriguing.  I give it 8 out of 10; a worthy prequel to Fables.

Dark Parables: The Final Cinderella (Bigfishgames.com)

After aiding the Red Riding Hood Sisters, you now have to find a kidnapped girl in a mansion on a mountain.  Unfortunately, you also have to stop a diabolical godmother from acting out her evil plan.  Can you save the girl and stop the evil godmother?

In this game, a goddess selects women to serve as a godmother to young girls with harsh lives also known as Cinderellas.  When one Godmother dies, another takes her place.  Therefore, it’s like being the Slayer only instead of killing vampires these women play surrogate mother to kind and unlucky young girls.  Still, the new take on Cinderella is interesting and I like the crossover with Pinocchio that you see later on.

The game play is the same as the last two in the series.  You have to go from room to room collecting objects. 

Along the way, you can collect items called parables in order to discover various back-stories regarding the game. 

You can also collect clothes and put them on a Cinderella doll to read a version of that fairy tale.  There’s just one minor flaw that I’m not going to be too picky about.  The game says that the first Cinderella originated in Europe, which is a common mistake, when the true origin of the fairy tale is actually China, only her name is Yeh Shen.

This game is addictive and intriguing.  I give it 6 out of 10; a great way to kill time.

Dark Parables: The Red Riding Hood Sisters (Bigfishgames.com)

A detective has just discovered the secret place of the Order of Red Riding Hood Sisters.  Unfortunately, the Wolf Queen has captured them.  She also wants to send her wolves to our world.  Can the detective save the Red Riding Hood Sisters and stop the Wolf Queen?

This game is my favorite entry to the Dark Parables saga.  I really love the Order of the Red Riding Hood Sisters and Briar Rose from the first game gets a cameo.  Like the last game, you can also learn the back-story of the group and of certain characters.

The game play is the same as any standard object game except you don’t have to collect an entire list of crap just to add two objects to your inventory.  You have to travel the map and collect objects by assembling the pieces.

Each object has a use in a specific location.  You have an unlimited number of hints and you can collect cursed objects if you want the hint meter to speed up.  You can also play various mini-games to advance the story.  If it’s too difficult, you can just skip it.

As for what I said earlier regarding back-story, collect various items to read the notes in your journal that will help you understand the characters.

You can also play a separate story about the boy who cried wolf.  The story serves as a prequel to the game, explaining how the situation came to be.  The only problem I have is with the beginning where the boy’s father locks him up in the basement for lying, but I guess punishments were more extreme back then.

This game is fun and addictive.  I give it 8 out of 10; an original take on two classic fairy tales.

Dark Parables: Rise of the Snow Queen

After your last Dark Parables adventure, you get reports of children disappearing in a nearby area.  Your investigation of the Snowfall Kingdom reveals that the villain is the one and only Snow Queen.  Can you stop her before she destroys the world?

Again, I am reviewing a game that is the third in its respective series.  Like the other games in the series, this one offers you the chance to choose your own difficulty level and whether you’d rather figure stuff out as you go or have your hand held through the entire game.  You can even choose to have a tutorial in the beginning.  There are hidden object scenes throughout the game, but it basically comes down to collecting various parts you need to reassemble inventory items.  Still, I’m glad that every item you collect is essential.  Too many hidden object games have you collecting useless crap just to complete the scene.  If you have trouble finding anything, you can use an unlimited number of hints, and they recharge at a normal speed.  You can also collect certain objects in order to speed up the bar.  You have to do a bit of backtracking in order to collect everything, but if you get lost, you can access your map at any time.  If that’s not enough, there is a wide assortment of mini-games, and if the games are too hard, you can just skip them.  My one problem with the gameplay is that despite all the danger, there’s no sense of urgency and no chance of anyone dying.  When a wolf is sent to attack you, it just stands there until you get the item that you need to shoo it away.  Even in the bonus game, when Gretel is captured, you can take as long as you want to save her.  If you’re creating a game that’s supposed to be suspenseful, don’t try to make it relaxing as well.  Give us the same feeling the character we play has, that if we don’t hurry up people will die.

I’m a huge fan of fairy tales, so any story that’s based on them can be done very well.  Okay, any fairy tale based story can be done well if the writer had a clue what he or she is doing, and in this case the writer did.  The writer not only explains the Snow Queen’s backstory, but also combines the fairy tale with that of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves.  In the game, you can even collect bits and pieces of the backstory as you go on.  The only thing that keeps the story from being truly beautiful is the voice acting.  It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t great either.  It’s because of that I couldn’t really get into the story.  Look, I get that it’s Big Fish Games, so they won’t be able to afford Oscar winners, but why do they even need voice acting at all?  The voices I imagine in my head move me more than the voices they put in the game.  If they must have voice acting in the game, will they at least give us the option of turning it off?

Like the last game I reviewed, this one also comes with additional bonus footage if you pay extra.  I especially like that it comes with an extra game where you play as Hansel in order to save Gretel from the witch.  Along with the lack of urgency in the bonus game, I have another problem with it.  Why is Gretel always the damsel in distress who needs Hansel to guide her?  I get that it’s pretty much how the original fairy tale went, but you don’t need to follow it exactly.  The ABC series, Once Upon a Time, changed the roles of the two so that Gretel was the leader and Hansel was the stupid one.  I’m not saying that you have to change them to be portrayed like that, but why can’t you have them both working together to stop the witch, instead of immediately casting one as dominant and the other as submissive?

While, the voice acting wasn’t great and the game had no sense of urgency, it’s still a fun game.  I give this game 8 out of 10, a nice, fun and quick game to play when you’re bored, and a creative use of two fairy tales.