It’s tough to stay forever young.
Eternal beauty can be a real hassle. There’s the fitness regimen, all those salads, tons of moisturizing cream, and the complete absence of chocolate in your diet. Plus, in the case of the queen in Living Legends: Frozen Beauty, there’s the matter of tricking the most beautiful girls in the kingdom to periodically walk into your castle so you can steal their life force, all without anyone else finding out about it. What a bother!
Living Legends: Frozen Beauty presents a re-spun and more mature version of the Snow White fairytale that plays out across nine chapters of hidden object adventuring. It starts with your sister Elizabeth being chosen as the queen’s next successor. She’s so excited about the prospect that none of her “hey wait that’s weird” impulses kick in, and before you can say “hey wait that’s weird” yourself, the queen takes her prisoner, destroys the bridge leading to her castle, and drops you into the canyon below. Fan-tastic.
The world of Living Legends: Frozen Beauty is twisted and sinister, though not so much dark and spooky like many casual adventure games. Much of the game is played out exploring small areas as you gather items in your inventory and solve a few basic riddles. The real challenge steps in when you start using those objects to open up new paths. Puzzles generally involve solving a mini-game, and Living Legends: Frozen Beauty doesn’t skimp on originality in that department. There are a few of the usual tile swapping, laser directing, gem matching and tangram-style diversions, but also expect to be surprised with new and multi-part games that really show off the designer’s creativity.
Hidden object scenes are of several varieties, including standard list-based scenes and reverse scenes. List scenes give you around a dozen text clues and challenge you to find the objects hidden on the screen, which is pretty much standard (though there are some interactive objects to find). Reverse scenes require you to hunt for items based on a dark outline, and then place them back into the scene to open up new puzzles. These feel a bit like a mini-game, and they’re a great way to keep you on your toes.
Apart from the main story, Living Legends: Frozen Beauty has a few extras to fiddle about with, especially if you pick up the Collector’s Edition. The best of these is the pet house, which allows you to care for a pet while upgrading things using coins you find throughout the adventure. It’s very much an ancillary diversion, but a welcome one. There’s also a handy fast travel map and journal to keep track of your progress, which is always a great inclusion.
The most captivating part of Living Legends: Frozen Beauty is the mini-games. They’re frequent and interesting, each one involving some new trick that’s tied directly into the story. Everything connects back to the story, actually, which makes the world you explore feel all the more complete. Match that with good artwork and steady gameplay design, and you’ve got a great recipe for a winning hidden object game.