Well, it seems G5 has done it again with Royal Trouble: Hidden Adventures for the iPhone and iPad. The best part is that despite its name and web page description it’s really not a hidden object game! Don’t get me wrong, because I love HoGs, but there’s also a need for more traditional point and click adventure games, and Royal Trouble delivers that kind of game play in spades. The story is funny, the characters are cool, and while you occasionally have to think about something for a bit, all the puzzles are really quite logical. I hope this is the start of a trend towards this kind of game on iOS devices, because I like it.
In Royal Trouble you take on the role of a prince and princess who aren’t related and don’t actually know each other. They just happened to both get imprisoned by the same man for some reason. Your job is to help them escape their captivity, and maybe even figure out why they were captured in the first place. You’ll do this by exploring a series of rooms, gathering items and solving puzzles to help you along your way. There are also some mini-games you must beat in order to advance or unlock certain items, and there are even a couple of “hidden object” sequences, though they aren’t quite what you might expect. All in all there’s a nice variety of things to do, and while some of the mini-games were beaten by sheer luck on my part, I don’t think it really has to be that way.
Every room has multiple items to collect and at least one puzzle to solve. To manipulate an item you tap on it. If it’s an item you can pick up it will be added to your inventory. If it’s in your inventory it will become the “selected” item, and then you can either tap on another inventory item or something in the room to use the selected item. Tapping on another character will initiate a conversation with them. So far all the mini-games have been tap affairs as well – it would be nice to see a couple games that maybe use tilt or swipe tactics, but at least the tap control is quite responsive in all situations.
The story is quite humorous and often drifts between the two characters. Conversations and narrated cut scenes really drive the story along, as well as giving you the sense that these aren’t one-dimensional characters. The mini-games aren’t really unique but they do offer a nice diversion once in a while, and if you’re really not in the mood they can be skipped. I haven’t exercised that right yet, though I have been tempted once or twice. So far the only real “hidden object” scenes I’ve encountered are a couple of chests that have a lot of the same type of items in them, and you just need to pick out the particular size and shaped ones necessary to complete your task. While I truly do enjoy hidden object games, it’s nice to see one where the focus is on adventuring.
The visuals in Royal Trouble are top notch. The backgrounds look good and offer nice detail, and while not overwhelming there is enough animation to keep you from staring at one spot the whole time. The characters designs look really good, unlike a lot of hidden object games that almost overcompensate for the detailed backgrounds with goofy looking characters. The sound effects are quite well done. There’s one scene with a howling wind, and a couple of times I forgot I had the game on and thought it was gusting outside! I also think they did a really good job picking the narrator. Now we just need voices for everyone else. The music is well written and easy to listen to, and it changes as you progress through the game, though not necessarily at each scene. It’s more like a movie soundtrack in that regards.
If you miss the days when “adventure game” meant something more than finding a list of objects in a pretty scene then Royal Trouble is definitely a game for you. Aside from the annoying “peg jumping” puzzle game, which I didn’t care for even before playing it in this game, there’s not much to complain about. The game looks good, it sounds good, it has puzzles that actually make sense, and the story feels like it is actually important to the game. I don’t know what more you could ask for in an adventure game.
Overall Score: 10/10
App Store Link
This game was reviewed on an iPad 2 running iOS 5.0.1