Queen’s Tales: The Beast and the Nightingale kicks off with a true fairy tale beginning. Unfortunately, it’s not one of those fairy tales where everyone’s happy and dancing in the palace. This story is about a mysterious golden nightingale locked in a cage in a sinister mansion, the man who took said nightingale one stormy evening, and the twisted beast who will do anything to get it back.
Adventure is the name of the game, and Queen’s Tales will send you searching high and low for items of all types. Your inventory will fill up pretty fast as you walk back and forth between scenes, hunting for things to click and using objects almost as fast as you can collect them. Most of the puzzles in this casual adventure come in the form of simple one step riddles, things like finding the key to a lock, locating food for a character, or finding the right shape of trinket to slide into a slot. Nothing too brain bending; the challenge comes from knowing where to use the item you picked up six screens ago.
The golden nightingale is more than just a story prop in Queen’s Tales. At the beginning of the game you’ll add the little bird to the corner of your HUD. Whenever you encounter a plant that needs a little life breathed into it, give the nightingale a click and watch the magic unfold. It’s a simple feature that doesn’t add a lot of depth, but it does go a long way to enhancing the story.
Hidden object scenes are a straightforward affair, presenting you with a list of items at the bottom of the screen and turning you loose to find them in the clutter above. Apart from one or two interactive items, HOG areas are as simple and old school as can be. If you aren’t in the mood for an object hunt, switch over to the match-3 option. Rotate 2×2 sections of tiles to make matches of three or more, collecting enough points to finish the puzzle, collect your reward, and continue with the story.
As is the case with many ERS Game Studios releases, Queen’s Tales: The Beast and the Nightingale plays it safe. The story is familiar enough to draw you in but has enough intrigue to keep you interested in the long run. The mini-games and puzzles are simple but challenging, and the hidden object sections are just frequent enough to be a welcome diversion. Queen’s Tales doesn’t try to break the casual adventure game mold, but it’s still no slouch when it comes to raw entertainment value. Especially if you love a good dark fairy tale.