Engrossing Hidden Object Gameplay
The Fool is essentially a hidden object game that also incorporates some adventure game mechanics. For those unfamiliar with what a hidden object game is, the player is presented with a picture that contains a set amount of objects hidden within the picture. The player must then try to either mouse over or click on the objects as soon as they spot them. Most of these games require the player to find a certain percentage of objects in a given time period.
In The Fool, the player is tasked with finding certain objects in a particular scene. Both the objects the player is tasked with finding as well as the scene they must search are directly related to the game's story.
For example, one scene requires the player to scour the village for weapons which are then given to the army to aid their fight against the evil dragon. These puzzles start out relatively simple, and the game makes it fairly easy for the player to find what they're looking for. However, the difficulty will progressively increase with each level that the player clears, ensuring that the final few puzzles will truly test the player's searching abilities. Between rounds of hidden object puzzles, players will progress the story by talking to various characters and using inventory items to solve puzzles.
One of the nice things about The Fool is that it gives players a clear list of the objects they must find, whereas other hidden object games leave it up to the player to stumble through the puzzles blindly. Another great feature is that all the objects that the player needs to search for are related to the story in some way, which really helps to immerse players into the game's setting. Additionally, players are able to uncover bonus items in the hidden object puzzles, which can be used to recharge their hint timer.
One of the really unique features that The Fool incorporates is the inclusion of outfit changes. Players will first encounter this feature early on in the game when they are tasked with retrieving a knight's suit of armor. Once the player wears this armor, their in-game portrait changes to reflect their new appearance. This isn't just a cosmetic change, however, wearing these different costumes allow the player to find new hidden objects that had previously been inaccessible.
Throughout the rest of the game, the player will be notified whenever they come across an object that they can wear. By the time the game is over, the player will have accrued quite a selection of outfits; these costumes really go a long way towards adding variety to the game.
Use Brains Instead Of Brawn To Defeat Foes
The Fool uses classic fantasy and fairy tale themes for its inspiration. The story starts with the classic tale of a medieval kingdom being terrorized by an evil dragon. To complicate matters further, most of the kingdom's best knights have already died trying to fight the dragon. In order to entice adventurers into continuing the fight against the dragon, the king has promised the hand of his beautiful daughter and half of the kingdom to whoever can slay the beast.
It's at this point that the player is introduced to the game's main character, the fool. The fool plans to succeed by trying to outsmart the dragon, instead of making the mistake of engaging it in direct combat like the knights did. Despite the fact that the story is cliched, it still manages to be interesting enough to act as an incentive for players to finish the game.
A Classic Fantasy Adventure
The story focuses around the Fool's quest to defeat the evil dragon that is terrorizing the kingdom. His quest will take players across a wide variety of environments, including a wizard's tower, a medieval battlefield, a steampunk-style castle, and finally the dragon's lair. Over the course of the adventure, the game really focuses on presenting players with a hero that tries to use his wits to outsmart enemies instead of fighting them. Additionally, the game treats players to dialogue that is both intelligent and hilarious.
Overall, The Fool is a title that's designed for people who are more interested in a game's story than its gameplay. There are lengthy sequences of dialogue as well as cutscenes that players have to sit through in order to get to the next section of gameplay. It also feels as though The Fool rewards players for completing puzzles by showing them the next section of the story. In this way, players are continually being given an incentive to keep playing, ensuring that the game is incredibly hard to put down.
A Problematic Inventory System
One of the game's few flaws is its inventory system. The game spends very little time explaining how to use it, and it isn't exactly very intuitive to begin with. Often times, the player will be given some object that needs to be used with another object in the game environment in order for the player to progress. For example, in one section of the game the player is given a ladder that needs to be used with a window. Doing this is necessary to progress the story, but the game never really explains the process very well.
Other than the game's inventory problems, all of the other aspects of the title are very easy to use. The game offers a rechargeable hint system which ensures that players will never become stuck, although they are required to try to solve the puzzles for themselves before asking for a hint.
Effective Use Of Gorgeous 3D And 2D Graphics
The Fool blends 2D backgrounds with some beautiful 3D graphics to achieve a graphic style that is both good looking and unique. Although there are a few points where this system looks a little out of place, it works for the majority of the game. Additionally, the environments are all very distinct and feature a great deal of variety.
The game uses sound sparingly, although what is there is used to great effect. Most of the sound consists of voiceovers used in some of the game's cutscenes and add a nice, epic feel to the sequences. The game also features light-hearted music that feels appropriate to the setting and matches the game's humorous story line.
Not Much To Do Once The Game Has Been Finished
The Fool's main problem is that it's just too short. Although this is usually the sign of a good game, in this case the game feels like it ends very abruptly.
Although the game features many interesting locations, the player is never really given any reason for exploring them, and it feels as though the game is trying to get players to rush through and complete the story. Once players finish the game, there's really no reason to come back and play it again. It plays exactly the same on subsequent playthroughs as it did on its first playthrough.
Review by Robert J
Robert J is an IT professional in the Milwaukee area. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee with a degree in computer science.
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