Review by Old Rooster
Everlight: Of Magic And Power
Developer: The Games Company
Publisher: The Adventure Company
Released: October, 2008
“Grandpa, What Is A ‘Dom-i-na-trix’?”
My 3rd grade grandson has great reading skills, including an interest in new words to embellish his rich vocabulary. Unfortunately, one day he happened to be looking over my shoulder at the gorgeous fairy tale setting presented in Everlight right at a point when, to the surprise of both of us, a particular character gave us an unexpected jolt. While directing Ryan to another, more age appropriate activity, I did indicate that a dominatrix was someone who helped needy adults exercise in a special way and that he should follow up with his parents for further elaboration (hopefully not his teacher!).
“The Town Is Cursed” – Fiona
Everlight made me smile – a lot. It’s one of those games that may well slip under the radar. It’s odd, sometimes offensive, very creative, lovely to look at, easy to play and really delightful.
You play as Melvin, a young teen, who visits with Mr. Teeth (very appropriately named, as you’ll see), a magic shop proprietor. During the course of chatting and game playing, Melvin finds himself transported to Tallen, a town several hundred years old – sort of a Brigadoon. In spite of superficial appearances to the contrary, a nearby Fairy in a cage informs you that all is not well and you have come to solve a problem – actually, a big problem! Tallen is cursed with a disorder that leads its residents to dramatically change personality after the sun goes down – almost like Jeckyll and Hyde. As she puts it, “Most of the people here are getting really strange at night.” If you can simply deal with five challenges, you’ll not only help the Town, but also overcome your own irrational fears.
“Are You Just A Bit Dimwitted?” – Fiona – Your Supposedly Friendly Fairy Guide
Everlight features a comprehensive and very helpful in-game hint system. Fiona, a Tinker Bell-like fairy visible only to you, gives you direct conversational opportunities (chat with her), not always filled with sarcasm. She’ll also present for your perusal “Fiona’s Notes,” a great notebook section just a couple of mouse clicks away. You’ll find clear listings of Unfinished and Completed Tasks to guide you along the way. Goal specifics can also be expanded by lighting one, two or three candles for further illumination.
Actually, from an excellent manual to Fiona’s help, to relative linearity, Everlight holds your hand rather tightly as you move along the path of this unusual and intriguing adventure. There are four difficulty levels, depending on how much help you need. All is mouse driven, and one finds very clear indicators for such commands as “action, use with, dialogue, examine”, etc. You’ll visit with a number of Town residents in a variety of locations. A colorful map is accessible in the Inventory (bottom of the screen) to enable quick relocation from one part of the town to another. Finally, if you’re willing to occasionally move your hand away from the mouse, you’ll find Hot Keys – specifically, for opening your Journal and Inventory, as well as displaying items and exits on a particular screen. Saves can be done any time, and are clearly labeled.
“A Novice Making Silly Promises” – Town Councilor Regarding Melvin
Everlight is translated from German. There were a few rough edges at times, either orally or with text, but I generally found the script and acting to be commendable, above average. The graphics and general art work are detailed, very colorful, really lovely. Music, beginning with the opening screen with an old fashioned gramaphone playing, is enchanting. Ambient sounds (birds, dogs barking) help with the overall atmosphere of the setting. Characters are nicely drawn, with animations at an above average level for today’s adventure games – just don’t expect Crysis. Lip synching and facial expressions are well done. The whole presentation is magical, almost dream-like, making some of the script sometimes shocking.
Tallen looks quite stunning, actually, filling the entire wide screen of my 24″ monitor. The mouse allows panning of everything you see, with another half to each side before a new scene loads. Although these loading times can be annoying (up to 10 seconds), the end result is well worth the short wait.
Puzzles are largely Inventory and conversation driven. Indeed, although conversations can be lengthy, with many choices, all may not be crucial to your forward movement. Unfortunately, you may not realize what the critical piece of information is until you get there. So, it is best to be careful and engage in full discussions. At least, they are different from the norm and often bizzarely entertaining.
“You Can Keep Your Trousers On For Thirty Seconds!” – Daphne, A Very Friendly Senior Citizen
You never know what the residents of Tallen are going to say, or do – especially at night, when the Curse kicks in. A kindly little old lady with a touch of palsy has the strangest night-time hobby! The Inn Keeper becomes a philosopher after a few drinks. A Town Councilor is transformed into an Inquisitor, while a pleasant puppy becomes a huge Were-Dog!
In spite of possible translation concerns, the humor in Everlight has just got to bring a smile, even if you’re having a bad day. Sure, a lot of it is corny, but you’ll get such advice as: “If you’re so desperately in need of firewood, perhaps you should start with your head,” or this comment: “It’s been that way as long as I can think of but my parents did tell me I started thinking quite late.” You’re told the Town Library is “unparalled in quality,” and that’s before it had any books!
One of the fascinating features that soon is opened is the ability to switch back and forth between day and night on the fly. This in not only intriguing to play around with, but also necessary to solve some of the puzzles. Plus, the night time personality changes are great fun to observe.
Weird Is Good?
Yes, in the case of Everlight, weird is very good. Oh, there are some warts, such as occasional signs in German, translation glitches, loading times, unidentified locations on the Map, but these are minor. This is a really well done game, brought carefully to these shores, and highly recommended. Indeed, as one who trades most games I finish playing, Everlight will find a place on my “Keeper Shelf,” and be a game I’ll look forward to experiencing once again in the not so distant future, especially if I’m in need of a good cheering up!
Minimum Specs: Windows XP/Vista; 2.0 GHz P4; 512MB RAM; 64MB Graphics Card; 4GB HD space (Game comes on one DVD which must be in HD to play).