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Video Game Review: Tiger Eye: Curse of the Riddle Box

TigerEye_Logo2Tiger Eye: Curse of the Riddle Box Part 1 is the casual game released by new game company Passionfruit Games. Based on novels by urban fantasy author Marjorie M. Liu, the story follows a young, blonde psychic Dela Reese as she journeys through modern day China solving puzzles in attempt to release a male shapechanger from the curse a magician placed on him aeons ago. Forced to serve as a slave the owner of the riddle box, Hari had been badly mistreated until he came into the hands of Dela. The two quickly fall into a romantic relationship, and Dela swears to save Hari from his curse, no matter the consequences.

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Their story unfolds as you play the game. A casual game, Tiger Eye is the type of game where you can play a level during your lunch break and still have a little time left over. The gameplay comes in two forms: 1. The gamer plays “find and object” looking for various objects on a fixed background. Some are easy, others not so much and 2. Certain of the objects reveal puzzles of math, matching, or wordplay. After solving some of each type in various settings, the gamer is advanced a level.

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After the completion of each level, the gamer is presented with a “motion comic” style movie (see trailer below). The images are fixed in nature, but through pan and scan technology and dislocation of figures from background, the images are given a sense of motion. This is overlayed with dialogue spoken aloud by surprisingly good voice actors, and subtitled underneath for ease of understanding. One nice thing about the action sequences is that the player is allowed the option to skip ahead to the next round of actual gameplay. This is useful because some of the sequences are long, and someone who is replaying the game may wish to skip over the plot development to get to the puzzles.

The puzzles do get progressively more difficult, though they all tend to be of the same type. Only bonus rounds between each level are timed, and so the player has the leisure to take as long as they wish to complete a particular puzzle in the standard level. The game designers also added in hints, which can be earned to help the stumped player from getting stuck on one level. But there is a limit, and once they are gone, they are gone.

I found Tiger Eye: Curse of the Riddle Box Part 1 to be a really entertaining game. Always preferring story above gameplay, I found that the game was very heavy on story. The types of puzzles get a tad repetitious, though to be fair, due to a quirk of my machine, I was only able to get through about 5 levels and so there may be more differentiation later on that I have yet to discover. I especially like the ease with which the reader can enter and leave the story at anytime, only being forced to repeat the level in which they left. Some male gamers may sneer at the romance angle of the storyline, but males are not the target audience, and even this unromantic male was intrigued enough by the puzzles and pleased that this simply constructed game had a story, unlike many of its contemporaries, that I kept on playing long after I thought I would quit.

I recommend this game to anyone who likes a good story, or who likes to play videogames but lacks significant time or money to devote to them. Tiger Eye: Curse of the Riddle Box Part 1 is reasonably priced, and easy to pick up and put down again at anytime. Casual gamers, romance readers, and the time-pressed puzzle gamer will all find something to like in this first offering from Passionfruit Games.