How To Make A Puzzle Game Based Around Just One puzzle – King’s Quest (part 6)

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Previously I looked at the first 45 minutes of chapter 4 and I will now continue to explain how the game becomes one massive, boring, ice puzzle. If I was to say that the middle section of the game had 12 puzzles inside it wouldn’t that sound like a lot? The answer is yes however if I said that all 12 we’re the same doesn’t that just sound lazy?

To lay down the context Vee has just been kidnapped and the family must go through a labyrinth to rescue her. Graham and Alexander go one way and the rest go in a different direction. This is done through an impossible to solve puzzle as the start, once you’ve gotten a certain way through you are forced into a labyrinth by a magical sphinx. Can I just say that the characters are meant to be on holiday, they go to an ice labyrinth for a holiday! It’s so weird.

All of the puzzles make you walk along a path following the line. For the first puzzle that is it, they later add more complications with sliding blocks but they’re not actually hard. So not only is the puzzle bad and terrible on the first run through, they also repeat the same puzzle for over half an hour just because they can.

After each section Graham and Alexander will have a little quick talk. Graham madly proclaims his love for puzzles and Alexander shoots him down, nothing else happens besides that. Whilst the length of these puzzles may be half an hour the monotony of them makes it feel like two hours. The only thing is that it’s only 30 minutes if you know the solution to all the puzzles straight away. Some puzzles are hard to work out just because they’re hard to visualise, you often need trial and error which, yet again pads out the game to make it feel longer.

I like to give credit where it’s due and I haven’t done it for this game yet, probably because there’s not really any good things besides this part that I’m going to mention. After the first set of puzzles you’re taken to a riddle room to solve riddles. The Sphinx will ask you a riddle and you then have to put the right object onto a pedestal, it’s pretty fun until you get this one cryptic riddle.

“What am I? Fit for a King, and taste very sweet. Thick or Thin, served for breakfast, Graham’s favourite treat.”

For this one you actually need to place two objects on the table, which I didn’t even know was possible. First I tried the sensible objects such as a cake or frying pan before trying every single item in the room to no avail. This wasted at least 30 minutes on its own so it was irritating to see that I already had the right idea but didn’t know how to execute it. The right answer is cake and frying pan in case you actually want to know the answer.

After a few more terrible ice puzzles which are pretty much identical to everything you’ve seen already it’s time for some great, brilliant story moments. You must climb a tower! Brilliant! (It’s basically a vertical ice puzzle) and then play that same game from the game of wits once again. The repetition of the same game is seriously annoying not just because it’s hard but because it’s clearly done to make the game longer.

This next part will focus on the major spoilers at the end so that you don’t have to play the game for yourself! If the endless ice puzzles sound fun to you then by all means play the game first.

The ice princess dies and then Alexander fights Mannanan with magic but doesn’t kill him, this makes him now like his father for some reason. You complete the original puzzle room that you couldn’t complete earlier and solve it with a clichéd predictable 4 letters “LOVE”. I had actually guessed that the answer would be “love” so I tried to enter it without actually solving the puzzle to let you discover the letter and it wouldn’t let me. Which was a bit annoying, it kind of broke what immersion I had left. You see that Manannan has a special plan for revenge and then you leave.

So that’s the entire game, it revolves around one boring ice puzzle which is a shame. The moments at the end could have been made really good and heart-warming / heart-breaking but the annoying stuff beforehand really lets it down.

Another problem was the other child that Graham had, she did nothing and was totally forgettable, and I don’t even remember what her name was.

So that’s King’s quest chapter 4. If you’ve been keeping track of these posts you may notice that I’ve left out a few important things like how the game gets away with it or the moments of interaction in the real world or the achievements. Don’t worry; I’ll be dedicating an extra part to talking about those as well as chapter 5 so stay followed to see that in the future.

It may feel like I’m saying trying to make the game longer is a bad thing which isn’t necessarily true, it’s the method that they use to pad out the game that really sucks. They do it just the right way to annoy me. In the first game (which was a similar length) you got introduced to all the characters, slayed a dragon, became a king and destroyed all of your competition however in this game you just went through a labyrinth, automatically found your son, made friends with your son and watched your wife’s sister die. The things in this chapter could easily be condensed but they instead stretch it out.

We don’t need a really long intro sequence to make us like a character. I really liked the characters in chapter 1 just from several small interactions with them so I believe this game could have been done so much better.

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