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Genre: Adventure & RPG
Min OS X: 10.4    RAM: 256 MB    Hard Disk: 552 MB

The Legend Of Crystal Valley
July 12, 2010 | Ted Bade

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Barrels Of Fun
The Legend of Crystal Valley is a fantasy based graphical adventure game produced by Sandlot Games. The story line of Crystal Valley has the feel of an Eastern European fairy tale with a touch of Science Fiction. There is a witch, giants, flying lizards, and even giant mushrooms as well as robots, steel towers, and portals. The world is filled with wonders and quite beautiful vistas. It is a lot of fun and worth giving a try.

In this game the main character Eve, has received a disturbing and cryptic letter from her father, whom she hasnít seen in a long time. She travels to his estates in France to try to find him. What she finds instead is an amazing world filled with wonders and unusual creatures. She also learns the truth about her family.

The game begins at the farmhouse. The beginning is set up as a tutorial which serves to introduce the player to the interface. Once you solve the farmhouse puzzles, you find a way into the Crystal Valley. From then on, you explore the areas and interact with the people and other denizens therein on your own. But is isnít a difficult task.

Conversations are very important. Not only does Eve learn about her father and the world of Crystal Valley, but often gains a clue about what she needs to do next. Through interacting with the inhabitants of the Valley she can learn how to resolve a puzzle, whom to speak with, what things she needs to do for the locals before they will help her and so forth. Eventually the discussion will lead to resolving various issues (ie complete a quest in game lingo) in order to obtain some item necessary to continue or simply more information.

Conversations are by way of text on the screen. When you choose to interact with a creature a list of things Eve can ďsayĒ to it appear which change color as you say them (as a reminder that you already did that conversation). Sometimes during the discussion Eve learns something that adds more to the list. This method of interacting with creatures in the game environment gives the game the feel of an interactive novel, which I found very pleasing. Since I am an avid reader I rather liked this method of communication and didnít miss having a voice read the text to me. However, I found the way the interactions started sometimes disturbed the flow of the story. After you select an item for Eve to say, a bubble appears and she says it. I found myself reading the list item then immediately reading the text bubble, which is identical to the list item. So it was as if the first line of every conversation was read twice.

Text bubbles that appear are timed, rather then simply waiting for your click, a feature I found a little annoying when I hadnít yet read to the end of a longer bubble when it disappeared. While you can repeat conversations with a creature (always getting the same result), a log of the discussion is created, so you can go there to reread the conversation if needed.

Crystal Valleyís interface is relatively simple. The cursor is a triangle that changes color depending upon what one can do. You can move to an adjacent area, move to some spot in the current area, interact with an object, or nothing. An object that can be picked up should be, since it will probably be needed later in the game. It can also be examined, which might provide a clue about how the item will be used or if something else needs to be done to it.


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