Anyone know how much a crystal slipper would fetch on eBay?

Detective Quest: The Crystal Slipper starts with a familiar story… a handsome Prince fell in love with a beautiful woman who he danced with at the royal ball. She left suddenly, without even telling him her name, and leaving behind only a crystal slipper for him to remember her by. So the Prince enlists in the help of a detective (that’s you!) to help him find his fair maiden. From then onwards, the Cinderella tale takes some unfamiliar turns and becomes an original story. It comes from Elephant Games, a studio which has clearly been busy recently, having also released the excellent Christmas Stories: Nutcracker less than a month ago.

The hidden object scenes have an interesting twist to the genre – instead of finding objects from a list in a picture, you are given images of various items which you have to put back in the right place. Some of these are easy enough – a Prince statue needs to be paired with his Princess statue, for example – while others are trickier. It’s a fresh and fun take on the concept, and I enjoyed it much more than I initially thought I would. It also makes the gameplay a little more challenging, since the task of finding a reason to match objects takes a lot more thought than simply finding them.

Detective Quest: The Crystal Slipper

Once you’ve paired up two objects successfully, you’re treated to a short animation, a little like the ones in the I-Spy games. Fires will blaze if you light them, bells will ring if you add their missing clappers and rabbits will eat the carrots you offer them. It’s also worth playing around with the regular scenes as well, sometimes you’ll uncover hidden animations there, too, for example a fireside cat will purr and stretch if you stroke it.

The hidden object scenes are very detailed and vary from really cute and cuddly – like a puppy sleeping in a basket, to creepy and rather dark – like a collection of torture instruments. There are plenty of mini-games that you’ll need to play, too, which range from very (probably too) easy, like clicking on the places where different-coloured strands of thread begin and end, to very hard, like clearing the way for a dolphin to safely swim between two points.

There are a couple of nice extras – firstly, you’re equipped with a camera and instructed to take pictures of all the weird and wonderful creatures you run into during your adventure, which results in an album you can flick through. The second is that you’ll collect animals that will help you with some tasks, for example a cute little white ermine that will scamper into hard-to-reach places and bring back treasures for you.

Detective Quest: The Crystal Slipper

There are a few short cutscenes, as well as voice-overs in which characters tell you their story. Everything’s of high quality and very polished. The premise of the story itself is a little tired (essentially the old “rescue the Princess” chestnut), but the way it is told is well done. The game world feels both large enough to be interesting and small enough that you never feel stuck having to traipse back and forth between long distances.

There are three difficulty levels to choose from, but make no mistake, even playing on casual, Detective Quest: The Crystal Slipper is a difficult game. Of course, this is either a good or a bad thing, depending on how much of a challenge you like. There are plenty of easier games out there if you prefer things to be a bit more relaxing, so having some games that are more difficult is not a bad thing. If you prefer your games nice and easy, though, you’re better off giving this one a miss.