This amusing fairytale adventure game was made in Prague in the Czech Republic and was inspired by traditional Russian fairy tales. According to the developers, it's "pleasant and light" and "strokes your soul and warms your heart" and, indeed, it is ... and it does.
It's aimed at a younger audience, of course, but older players can join in and help out because it's fun, and it's fascinating to see the parallels with our own fairy tales. There are dark woods and dragons, and swamps and ghosts and, of course, the ubiquitous wicked witch and wicked stepmother. Father Frost makes an appearance, and so does Baba Yaga, much to my delight. I was watching out for the hut with chicken legs.
Nastya is as sweet as can be, she lives in a house along with her kindly father, her wicked stepmother, and mean, ugly stepsister. Now sweet Nastya doesn't have a bad word to say about anyone, not even her lazy sister, and she toils away all day long under the direction of her wicked stepmother who screeches, 'You wicked witch, you Viper's Venom', at every opportunity.
Not far away lives Ivan, a strong, handsome young man, but far too smart and self-centered for his own good. He bids his mother goodbye and sets out in search of a wife. He doesn't set a good example at first, unfortunately, because he has no time to help anyone in need. But soon he learns the error of his ways and must change his tune to put things right.
The game is played in third person perspective by switching between the two characters, Nastya and Ivan. Firstly help Nastya with her chores, then accompany Ivan on his way before returning to Nastya as she runs the errands to find her sister a husband, and so on.
It's a kids game but it has a good amount of puzzles and problems, some of which are quite challenging (in kid's terms) so younger players will surely need some help. A little more feedback from the gameworld would have helped on a couple of occasions.
The graphics are cartoon-like, full screen and very clear, with good music and sound effects and engaging cutscenes linking up the different sections of play. It is all simple point and click and the gameplay involves talking to characters to get information and doing them favors by collecting items. Other items, of course, are needed to solve problems to move the story along, such as an appropriate item to dye the wool, some candles for the soothsayer to read a hidden message, or some honey to placate the baby bear. Of course things aren't always as easy as they sound because the item that will dye the wool is guarded by a raven, the candles are in the dark cellar and the bees want a new home in return for the honey.
Fairy Tale about Father Frost, Ivan and Nastya is quite a charming little adventure with lots of strands of fairy tales rolled in to entertain young players. As well as characters of the two-legged variety there are talking trees and bees and bears, and the voices are all fairly reasonable, especially that of Nastya. All the dialogue is subtitled and items in the game world and in the inventory are clearly labelled. Perhaps a little too clearly sometimes because it's here you can see the non-English origins of the game with a few awkward expressions and some curious labels such as 'clog' for 'log', but this doesn't really hurt the game.
Despite this kids will certainly have some fun with Fairytale. It's probably suited to ages 6 and up with someone on hand to help the younger ones. Although I wish that unredeemable wicked stepmother characters could be filtered out of today's fairy tales (even those inspired by traditional tales) there's some good deeds to be done on this adventure, and the baddies all get their just deserts. Thus the moral of the story is to be good.
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