It’s been a long day at work, what with all those cases you’ve been solving these past few weeks. Just as you settle in with a good book, a knock sounds at the door. You open it to find pretty much the last thing you expected to see: a stranger dressed in black depositing a baby on your doorstep. Well now, so much for a cozy night indoors. You grab your things (along with the baby) and rush out to chase down this mysterious figure. Because hey, who leaves babies at random people’s doors?
The story in Nevertales: The Beauty Within quickly takes a turn for the surreal. You locate the stranger at a mansion just outside of town, a mansion you’ve never seen before, but, you know… it’s there now! The mysterious man reappears to drop hints about what’s going on, mentioning things like magical portals and riddles about the baby in your arms. While you attempt to untangle his clues, you’ll complete hidden object scenes and solve puzzles to progress through the dark and scary house. You’ll also gather a handful of items and use them in interesting, though sometimes not so obvious ways.
One of the first real oddities in Nevertales (apart from carrying a baby in your inventory) is your new automaton pal, a mechanical owl named Gears. Gears is super friendly and can fly out to reach things you couldn’t normally get your hands on. If you just can’t seem to figure out the way forward, chances are there’s an item floating far off the screen, waiting for Gears’ metal beak to retrieve it.
Most of your time in Nevertales will be spent completing mini-games. They come in a wide variety of styles and difficulties, starting with simple genre stock puzzles and progressing to some genuinely innovative diversions. The hidden object puzzle book, for example, is nothing short of enchanting. It’s worth playing the game just for that experience. And as always, even if you get stuck, mini-games feature a skip button to let you get out before frustration sets in.
Most of Nevertales: The Beauty Within’s hidden object scenes are pretty standard for the genre, maybe even a little on the simplistic side. You’re presented with a text list at the bottom of the screen and a cluttered set of items above. Several of the list objects are interactive, meaning you’ll need to move or combine things in order to check that item off. Accompanying the list scenes are silhouette based hidden object scenes which ditch the interactivity in favor of good old fashioned “find the shape and give it a click”!
With its dark but quirky fairy tale inspired story, sumptuous artwork, and loads of unique puzzles and mini-games, Nevertales: The Beauty Within will score major points with casual gamers of all types. It’s just the right amount of weird to keep you curious, and just the right amount of familiar to make sure you have a good time.