The best fairy tale villains don’t use flying monkeys or hunchbacks to do their bidding. They use gingerbread men. Evil, tricksy gingerbread men, the kind that will kidnap innocent children without provocation. Isabella was taking her family to the market when a sleeping spell knocks her off her feet. When she comes to, her children have vanished, and her home is sealed shut with… honey? Oh boy, this is not going to be a good day.
Fearful Tales: Hansel and Gretel takes the classic fairy tale and remixes it for the modern hidden object gamer. It’s an absolutely gorgeous game, with artwork that oozes style and creativity. Everything from the grumpy gingerbread characters to the hidden items, the mini-games, and the background scenes are drawn to perfection, making it feel like a playable storybook. It’s the kind of game that makes you go “wow”, and that’s only the beginning.
Fearful Tales is a hidden object puzzle adventure that focuses on exploration, item collection, puzzle solving, and the occasional hidden object scene. At the outset you meet a non-evil gingerbread man named Chip. He functions as your in-game hint giver, but he also moves the story forward with well-written cutscenes and occasional quips about the bad gingerbread guys. Search the area for items that might be useful, then zoom in on certain locations for a closer look. Everything has a pristinely logical use in Fearful Tales. If you find a shovel handle, you’re going to use it as a shovel, not a pogo stick. This dedication to simplicity makes the game so much more enjoyable, all without sacrificing challenge.
Hidden object scenes are as straightforward as they come. You’re presented with a list of items, then you have to find those items by clicking on the screen. See? No surprises. Well, there are a few interactive items in each puzzle, such as toys that need to be wound-up before you can collect them, but even that isn’t out of the ordinary for a HOPA. Fearful Tales likes to reuse scenes in quick succession, which is a little disappointing but nothing worth lodging a formal complaint about.
Puzzles and mini-games occur frequently in Fearful Tales, and they usually bring a smile to your face. Early in the game, for example, you’ll assemble a suspiciously heart-shaped pumpkin by sliding jigsaw-like pieces together. Once it’s complete, you’ll notice a nearby pumpkin scarecrow has a hole in his torso. Plug in that new heart of yours, why don’t you?! Although the puzzles are never too obtuse, a skip feature does charge in the lower difficulty levels, just in case you’re not in the mood.
Everything about Fearful Tales: Hansel and Gretel is just fantastic. The story unfolds as you play, presenting twists and turns that keep you engaged with all of the characters, especially Chip. The hidden object scenes aren’t overly abundant, and the puzzles are just unique enough to be a welcome diversion from the main adventure. Easily one of the best lighthearted HOPA games in recent memory.