iPad Game Review: Royal Trouble: Hidden Adventures HD
Reviewed by Tom Slayton
Royal Trouble: Hidden Adventures HD is a "point and click" adventure game with a variety of mini games thrown in, sprinkled with light-hearted, child friendly humor.
Royal Trouble HD (and its counterpart, Royal Trouble for iPhone) is an enjoyable point and click adventure. For those of you unfamiliar with this category, these kind of adventure games require no mapping or note-taking, and tend to be mostly linear in that they lead the player from one group of puzzles to the next as the plot slowly unfolds.
In Royal Trouble, the game begins when you (a princess) awake to find yourself imprisoned. Your first task is to escape your room, and you accomplish this by finding and combining objects from your environment. This is not a hidden object game, though. The emphasis is on logic, and the number of things you can interact with is extremely limited to prevent you from getting confused and overwhelmed. If you've ever played Machinarium or Monkey Island, you will be right at home, however, the puzzles and mini-games in Royal Trouble are nowhere nearly as punishing as they are in either of those games. Escaping from the room leads to another scene where you meet your other alter ego, an imprisoned prince. As the game progresses, you will flip back and forth between these two characters, as you watch the comical animosity between them slowly turn to romance.
First and foremost, Royal Trouble is a casual game. Objects sparkle to entice you to interact with them, hints abound, and you can even skip the mini-games if you choose. This extreme flexibility is very welcome in a game like this, and equally rare. All too often, I have found myself matching wits with a game designer who fancies himself a contemporary Dr. Moriarty, unwilling to release you from your task until you have bested him in a battle of wits of his own design. This compulsion to force the gamer to experience every ounce of gameplay rather than letting him/her enjoy it his/her way, drastically reduces the game's audience, and in particular, frustrates my 7-year old son. Royal Trouble has none of those problems. Don't like mini-games? skip them all. Feeling bored or impatient with a particular location? Access the progressive hints. Want to enjoy all the content without help and go for the achievements? Feel free. I did find the mini-games to be somewhat uneven, though. Some of them, are cleverly designed, and require thought and patience while others I managed to solve fairly quickly simply by randomly tapping. Still, the meat of the game is the adventure, which is quite enjoyable and reasonably clever.
The graphics of Royal Trouble HD are crisply drawn and suit the story perfectly. The animation is minimal, but I didn't find myself distracted by this as the before/after transitions are well-done. For instance, when you remove a stone from the wall, you don't get to see the stone sliding smoothly out and hitting the floor. Instead, you see it start to move, then the game uses a crossfade to transition to the newly modified image of the room. Not a big deal, but if you're looking for something lush, with lots of eye candy, this is not that game. Still, as I said, the graphics are nicely drawn, and I never had the feeling that the game was unpolished.
The music and sound are adequate, but all dialog is accomplished by way of text boxes. While I'm generally not a fan of gratuitous voice acting in a game, I couldn't help feeling that this game could have benefited greatly from these two characters bantering back and forth in audible conversation.
In-App Purchases (IAPs)
While the download is free, if you want to play the full game, you'll need to pay $6.99 to unlock it. I suspect that G5 sticks to this model so they don't have to develop separate demo versions of their games, however, I'm not a fan of this because if you try to reinstall the game at some later date after G5's servers have been shut down, for instance, you'll be stuck with the lite version. For this reason, I always recommend purchasing full versions whenever possible rather than unlocking content via in-app purchase.
Royal Trouble HD is a lighthearted and enjoyable adventure game, suitable for all ages. While the mini-games are a bit uneven, the adventure itself is well crafted, and both me and my son enjoyed tapping out way through it. The ability to skip content whenever you like, is a thoughtful gesture on G5's part, and one which enables even young children to enjoy this game.
Ratings (scale of 1 to 5):
Graphics: - 4 - Crisply drawn but minimally animated graphics Sound: - 3 - Decent sound effects and music, but no voiceovers makes the game feel a bit flat. Controls: - 5 - Great interface. Clean design and responsive. Gameplay: - 4.5 - An enjoyable adventure game with great flexibility allowing you to skip content if you desire. Some mini-games aren't up to snuff.
Playing Hints and Tips:
Watch for things that sparkle, as these are typically important objects or locations. When you tap on things that you can't immediately use, take the time to read the text. It will give you clues regarding whether or not the object may be useful in the future. Don't be afraid to use the hints and skip puzzles. This game is designed to be accessible to everybody.