It has been a while since I reviewed Chapter 2: Rubble Without A Cause which I enjoyed so I was excited to jump back into the series and see what chapter 3 had to offer. The series started strongly with chapter one and felt slightly more restricted in the second chapter. I have to say that this installment is my favourite chapter so far and has some interesting developments.
This time around King Graham is older and has clearly changed since the last time we saw him. The King is now searching for his true love, which he finds out about through a magic mirror. Graham is off in search of a tall tower after the magic mirror tells him it’s where his true love awaits. The episode structure to the series has worked really well so far and the opening scenes in this chapter work very well. The narration is once again done by Christopher Lloyd, who is fantastic. The opening to this chapter sees you replaying it through different time shifts and the narration back-tracks again and again to great effect. The game still manages to tell an interesting story whilst having a lighthearted tone with humorous moments and lines of dialogue.
After the brilliant opening, which is my favourite section of the series so far, sees Graham setting out to find his true love. Once he reaches the tower however, he soon discovers that it’s not just one princess that awaits and this leaves him in a sticky situation. He has also been trapped in the tower due to a magical spell. The rest of the episode is about Graham trying to escape whilst deciding which of the two women will be his true love. Controls are basic, using the cursor to highlight items or make Graham interact with the world. Solving most of the clues is done through observation and dialogue choices, while managing your inventory.
This is where the decision and dialogue choices in the game play a part in how events and narrative unfolds. Depending on how you interact with the women over the course of the chapter determines who Graham starts to lean towards. I certainly liked this episode more than part two because of the lighter tone and room for more comedic lines and humorous dialogue. The tone of this episode feels lighthearted and suits the overall tone and atmosphere of the series. The series feels at a strong point now, with characters that feel developed and well fleshed out. The series is certainly turning out to be a classic love story that infuses various elements and themes that weave throughout the narrative.
This episode does introduce a few new characters, but we also get to see many returning characters which help keep you connected to the world. There are strong characters like Hagatha, Vee and Neese that return this time around. It was also interesting to see how the returning characters had subtly developed since the last time we saw them.
Like I said, Graham is in a tricky situation and making a choice between the two women isn’t easy as they both appeal to him in different ways. I found the best way to play a game like this is to not think about the choices you are making too much and play it with a laid back approach making decisions you would naturally make. Chapter 2: Rubble Without A Cause felt a lot more serious and darker in tone, whereas this episode feels more like a romantic comedy with some genuinely funny and endearing moments. The environments you explore are varied and feel interesting to look around and discover what lies ahead. This chapter sees you having to spend a fair amount of time talking to various characters about love advise, which is actually well written and kept me invested.
King Graham is still the likeable character as always who is still just as clumsy and awkward as in previous episodes. Having a likeable main character in a game like this is vitally important and I have to say that I have grown to like him more and more as the series has progressed.
I really enjoy how the game use classic fairytale style narratives and themes and intertwine them throughout its own original story. This reminded me of Telltale’s The Wolf Among Us, but this story feels much more lighthearted and family friendly. Like in previous episodes the story is still being told from the view of the King as an old man which works really well and I can even see this working well as a fully fledged film or TV series.
The game once again has its puzzle elements but the dialogue and decision-making in this episode play a more important part. The puzzle designs are interesting but don’t feel as difficult compared to the previous episodes. I didn’t mind that though and feel it worked well. The puzzles introduce a nice change of pace and gameplay variation but overall my favourite parts of the series come through the humour and playful writing. The presentation of the game is as fantastic as always with a cel-shaded cartoon-like style and vibrant colour palette. The voice acting is a real highlight and helps to enrich the overall experience.
Overall the series is at its best in “Chapter 3: Once Upon a Climb” and sees you playing through an interesting story full of unique characters and interesting choices. It’s a classic reimagining of a romantic fairytale that has fantastic writing, brilliant voice acting and plenty of humour. This episode has a perfect balance of puzzle solving, decision-making and strong storytelling. If you were unsure about whether the series is worth checking out, then King’s Quest – Chapter 3: Once Upon a Climb certainly gives good reason to give it a go.
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