The Huntsman: Winter’s Curse is a fantasy story game that follows Elisabeth on her journey to find her four lost brothers. On her way she encounters beasts, bad guys and even some plants that want to pick a fight. The dialogue is a simple text box with the usual press x to continue system. The only voice work is in a prologue at the start of the game with completely different graphics which felt like it would have been a better game. The way you fight battles in this game is through a card based system, where you have a set of cards (which you can customise) and characters each take turns to play one card at a time, such as attack, heal and stun. The battles get boring after a while, even more so when the game stops you being able to choose any of the cards and you have to restart the game, which happened a lot.
The game has a hand drawn aesthetic which is clear and well drawn, in fact it does look kind of good, except for the fact that regardless of what is being said by the characters, their expressions don’t change as the same picture is used the entire way through the game. With the dialogue in the game being down to the player to read, the game relies heavily on its background music, which fits the game quite well and, unlike the characters, does change based on what is happening in the story. The looks of the game are limited somewhat by the story somewhat, mainly in the fact that an adventure through dark forests often means that the colour scheme ends up suffering, though this game does manage to provide moments of brightness, along with vibrant colours. The entire game is well coloured and looks good.
After playing this game for a while now I can’t do this any more. It’s just a stream of game breaking bugs linked together by minor annoyances. I did manage to beat one of these bugs by hitting x as fast as possible in the hopes of finishing the battle before the game froze up, which surprisingly worked. Now I’m in a maze which, unless I’m supposed to choose the same option twenty times, has no foreseeable way to continue except restarting the game every time I take a wrong turn. This game is ridiculously annoying with brief glimpses of being a minor inconvenience. Other problems in the game are that, no matter how I try to adjust the safe area on my Playstation, the game is larger than the screen, so I can’t even see some parts of this broken and flawed game. At this point I would highlight that saying this game is infuriating would be a compliment.
The only saving grace of this game is that the plotline is relatively interesting; separated into books the stories do give some sense of accomplishment. Each book corresponds to a search for each of the four brothers. It can be a story that the player at times wants to follow. With this separation in books, as well as the hand drawn style of the game, it wouldn’t be too far to (albeit mistakenly) believe that this was a book that was adapted into a game, rather than a game that was based on an expanded universe of a sequel to a movie based on a fairytale. So as you can tell, the plot, interesting as it is can be a bit thin at times.
The development of the game by Desert Owl Games feels lazy at times, with minor issues like the fact that all the characters with two lines of dialogue or less could pass as identical twins. This developer has experience with turn based games in the past, and the fact that it is a turn based game doesn’t earn it any special points, or give it a pass, a game isn’t allowed to be lazy and repetitive just because some of the games in that franchise are. The whole point of game developers, writers and publishers is to make new and interesting games, a point which Desert Owl Games and Universal Studios missed.
Now we get to the question of value, is this game worth the £17.99 price tag? It depends; are you a HUGE fan of anything to do with the Huntsman franchise, but not actually anything to do with the huntsman at all? Are you a fan of any game that stops working more times than you actually start it up? Do you LOVE the idea of playing a crappy version of Pokémon without any actual Pokémon in the game at all? If you answered yes to any of these questions (and I hope for your own sake you didn’t) then this is the perfect game for you.
If you’re thinking of getting this game, don’t. Just really, don’t do it. I genuinely feel I need to apologise to my Playstation for getting this game in the first place. This game gets 3/10, solely because someone sat down and wrote this story.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Sony Playstation 4 code was provided to Brash Games for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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