When her prince and her kingdom is enchanted by an evil witch, Princess Vita must find the Seven Seals and the mythical Fortune
Kingdom of Seven Seals puts you in the sparkling shoes of the spunky Princess Vita. When an evil witch imprisons her prince and enchants his entire kingdom, she’s the only one who can save them. With the help of a friendly unicorn and a sassy fairy sidekick, she seeks out the Seven Seals of power and wields a legendary dagger—all while wearing a formal gown and heels.
The game starts with a party being thrown to welcome Princess Vita to the generically-named “Magic Kingdom.” Before things can get rolling, the court is overcome by a witch’s evil enchantment and its inhabitants imprisoned behind magical doors. Princess Vita is the only of the king’s subjects to escape the curse and so it’s down to her to save the kingdom. Fortunately for her, a helpful fairy appears to offer aid and advice the two of them set out to scour the land for the Seven Seals of power.
Kingdom of Seven Seals is more of an adventure than a hidden object game. While it does have occasional hidden object sequences, the focus is on talking to the kingdom’s quirky characters and running various errands for them. Most of your time is spent looking at an overhead map of the land and moving Princess Vita around it with a mouse click. Objectives are indicated on the map by little glowing markers and houses that contain a characters with something for you to do are indicated with a big, yellow exclamation point. Once in a while you’ll also solve a puzzle or play a match-three or marble popper minigame.
At first blush, Kingdom of Seven Seals promises to be a charming game. It’s cute cartoon style full of rainbows and fairies accompanied by its lullabye-like musical score suggest a light-hearted and amusing gaming experience. Its colorful 2D environment art is expertly done and its characters are appealing and fun to look at. It sets out to make every objective clear both with obvious map markers and offers plenty of hints both from your onscreen fairy guide and inside your personal journal. The problem is, all these things are undermined by the game’s split personality art direction and worse, by its clumsy and lazily-designed quests.
The game’s problems are immediately apparent during the first half hour of play. The first thing you notice is the poorly done 3D artwork; it’s simplistic and amateurish and looks even worse compared to the brilliantly executed 2D art. The second issue is that the game at first feels far too simple. Its overly linear quests and the repetitive way characters force you to run around fetching items makes it feel like it’s meant for kids under the age of ten. Beyond that first half hour though, it’s all too obvious that the game’s beyond most young kids and many adults as well. And that’s not because it’s too clever—oh no! It’s because it’s filled to bursting with confusing objectives, illogical puzzle solutions and built-in tedium.
The main issue is lack of feedback. In the middle of a quest, conditions will change but you won’t know it. Hints to these changes are vague or nonexistent and so you’ll find yourself repeatedly revisiting the same locations, unable to figure out what to do next. Worse, early on in the game robbers take over the kingdom’s bridges, which you must cross again and again and these robbers insist on being paid a toll. Princess Vita just may be the first fairy tale princess to go to Gambler’s Anonymous because for some reason, she’s penniless and has to frequent the local casinos to come up with this toll. This forces you to spend way too much time playing an extremely tedious slot machine minigame that becomes a complete bore the third or fourth time you’ve done it. Of course, perhaps the slot machine game is meant to be a metaphor for the game as a whole since it also is a chore to play.
Ultimately, Kingdom of Seven Seals is a lesson in failed potential. Rarely does a game simultaneously exhibit such visual expertise and ignorance, or have such gameplay simplicity coexist with such overcomplication. What might have been a charming, back-to-basics fairy tale of good triumphing over evil becomes an unmitigated exercise in utter frustration. Aside from being aesthetically disjointed and confusingly designed, the game is barely two hours long (though considering the quality of the experience, that might be considered a bit of good fortune). Unless they enjoy aggravation, hidden object fans and adventure gamers alike should do their best to steer clear of Kingdom of Seven Seals.