June 18, 2009
Release Date: February 20, 2009
Boxed Dreams, a German developer, brings us Ceville – a wonderful throwback to classic adventure gaming. Published by Kalypso, the game has a very Kyrandia feel to it. As a matter of fact, I found myself feeling so reminiscent of that game that I went ahead and replayed the Legend of Kyrandia - enjoying that game once more after having completed Ceville.
You find yourself playing the most unlikable, yet strangely loveable character, Ceville – the recently deposed king of Faeryanis. He’s mean, rude, sarcastic and all 'round not-so-nice guy. The game begins immediately after your very own citizens have seized your kingdom. Not to give up one’s throne so easily, your goal is restore your version of order and reign over your subjects once again. While the plot is pretty straight-forward, the path to getting there will be filled with homages to adventure games of the past, witty dialogs, memorable characters, and loads of slapstick comedy.
Ceville is played in 3rd person point and click style which is really the only way to truly appreciate it. With a game so heavily dependent of a large cast of characters, comical actions, and heavy dialog, there is no other way to expect it. The mouse icons were easy to make out and straightforward – hand to grab, gears to use, etc.
I did have trouble running this game on several occasions. A run time error would occur and bounce me out to windows, even with the patch applied. It was quite upsetting when I realized just how long it had been since saving and how much I would have to replay, but upon reloading the game; the developers had gone from me cursing their names to instead heaping praise on them. The game Autosaves! Now there is something that practically all other genres have enjoyed for years, but has been mysteriously lacking in adventure games. Unlimited saves and autosaving, finally a developer who got it right.
Sound and graphics
Graphically the game is vibrant with the artists using a rich variety of colors. Its bright, bold, comical and it works very well. The only downside might be the lack of an anti-aliasing option as some of the edges were jagged, but this was a minor nuisance. You can change your screen resolution, so no matter what type of setting your system has, the odds are that Ceville supports it – even widescreen.
The voice acting was quite good and fit the cartoonish nature of the game. I would suggest turning on the written dialogs because there were some points where Ceville was talking to Lilly while close to some guards who were also having a conversation and things got a little muddled together.
I’m not a fan of dialog-rich games, so I was quite happy that you could speed things up a bit by clicking through them. There were so many dialogs in this game that I think had I been forced to listen to them all in their entirely, it would have greatly diminished my feelings toward the game. Again, I have to give the developers praise for this.
The puzzles are mainly inventory-based and to me were very straightforward. I never found myself stuck for a prolonged period of time and there was enough variety in the scenes and situations to keep things from becoming stagnant. Double-clicking the edge of the screen will quickly take you to the next area, which is common nowadays, and a very welcome feature.
All in all, I have a hard time coming up with anything bad to say about this game from a technical point of view. There is just so much that the developers have done to keep the players from getting frustrated. I have to admit that I’m surprised that there are still games being made today that do NOT take these things into consideration. In this regard I can only praise what Boxed Dreams have done here.
It’s also by no means a short game coming in at 10-15 hours of playing time. How much you enjoy it is heavily dependent of how much you enjoy listening to large amounts of dialog.
With all the technical stuff aside, how you feel about this game will be heavily dependent on your own tastes because it is such a niche game – heavy dialog, comedy, and a cartoon. Within that category of adventure games, I think Ceville will rank pretty high on gamers lists.
There is also the danger of creating a comedy themed game – it’s so subjective. Personally I didn’t find myself having any laugh out loud moments because many of the jokes seemed…well, old and kind of silly and more geared towards kids. At best the jokes are cute, but most of the time you might let out a slight groan.
While I did find myself enjoying this game and walking down memory lane to early adventure games like the Kyrandia series, I couldn’t help but feel like there really wasn’t anything new here. The occasional rare crashes were also a bit of a nuisance even though the autosaves kept those events from turning into such a catastrophe that you’d stop playing. All in all, it was just a very solid adventure gaming experience, although I would have a really hard time recommending it to anyone other than those who enjoy this type of game.
Final Grade: B-