This is a guest review by Evil Plipster
I've always been fan of the point and click adventure, my pedigree with playing the genre heads back to the heady days of "Leisure Suit Larry", "Police Quest", "Curse of Enchantia", "Fate of Atlantis", "Lure of the Temptress" and even those "Monkey Island" games you may have heard of. However I realise that this is 2009 and some game genre's fall by the wayside to make way for superior technology and the simple fact that with gaming being more mainstream and console focused these days, it's clear that the point and click adventure has been one of these genres.
However recently small development houses have come forth with an attempt to breathe life back into the old dog with the release of last years quite loveable “A Vampyre Story” and now we have “Ceville” a fun little tale that takes you to a magical fantasy land where you play (amoungst other characters) the title character who is a mean spirited little ruler of the said magical fantasy land. Upon initial play my response to “Ceville” could be summed up in two short words, “oh” and “dear”. As an attempt to bring the good old point 'n' clicker back to the thalamus of the average gamer Ceville does nothing at all. The graphics have a very 90's feel to them and this is not helped by some very odd moments where you're not sure if the notable absence of certain animations are the result of limitations by the technology the game's running on or if the programmers just weren't feeling up to it that day.
For example, there's an early section of game where you play Ambrosias the Paladin trapped in a stone chamber and he has to find his way out of said chamber, he sees a large stalactite attached to the ceiling and with the aid of his mighty blade cuts it down. Now, what happens here is interesting as the stalactite just fades into non existence. Now this is odd as it didn't fall to the floor for me to pick up nor did anything else of interest happen on the screen signifying I had accomplished anything. After a few moments of wondering what the hell was going on it suddenly occurred to me that the huge stalactite had now appeared in my inventory, having apparently become a more pocketable size for me to deal with. I had simply assumed that the reason it had not fallen to the floor and been picked up with some witty comment as to why it could now fit in the the armoured top left chest pocket of the Holy Crusader was because the graphical engine just couldn't handle it.
Then ten minutes later I saw another character move around a weapons rack so that the the rather nice reflection effects caught a vein guard so would gawk at himself while you could plot a prison break. People could accuse me of being nit-picky but it was enough for me to remember and be slightly irked by.
Also adding to the graphical oddities that are supplemented by odd character animations that are in there to give the characters a little more emotion to what they're saying, however the lines of dialogue will carry on as they say it so you can have certain characters shrugging forlornly while they tell you how nice their life is or in worse cases just stopping completely while the character model plays out the action in time to charge right into the next line. As has always been the case with the point and click genre the puzzles are pretty much exclusively dictated by whatever logic the game designers were in the mood for that day and that doesn't always bode well when the game doesn't give much of a hint as to what you should be intending to do to solve whatever situation you're little pixular hero finds him/herself trapped in. Fortunately “Ceville” does recognise this, and not only are you let into the secret of what you should be doing by the characters dialogue you can hit the space bar and all the items with the map you can interact with are shown to you.
Up until this point it looks very bleak, as in all honesty “Ceville” does noting to entice a new audience back to the genre we loved in the days gone past. But there's something that should be taken into consideration while playing this game: This game in now way -attempt- to bring in a new audience. “Ceville” is a homage, a product that looks back fondly upon the days gone by and with a fond sigh says to you “Hey, remember this?” and in that regard it's a gem.
This game was created to appeal to those of us who were playing back when “Monkey Island” and “Day of the Tentacle” were king. At this point you may be noticing that I'm making far too many references to old games, but frankly that's what “Ceville” does to. Many jokes, puzzles and characters are taken right out of the old Sierra and Lucasarts catalogue that to the people that hold fond memories of such days will chuckle at. The point and click adventure has always relied on a single strength to really hold it up and give us fond memories and that's in the writing and this is where “Ceville” really shines. The script writing is really top notch and the characters are charming, entertaining and very likeable, with so many of the jokes hitting the comedic spot it's hard to deter anyone from buying this game.
If you're a fan of the point and click adventures of the good old days then this is a very worthy purchase. If you're not a fan of the point and click adventures of the good old days then this is not going to do anything to change your opinion.