Rose Riddle: The Fairy Tale Detective Review – Journey to the Magical Kingdom

The Good

Clever setting with lots of callbacks to classic fiction.

Straightforward gameplay that feels fresh and unique.

Unique resources with unique uses.

The Bad

Some of the pathways aren't clearly marked on the stage.

Have you ever heard the tale of Rose Riddle and the magical tractor that needed a tire? How about the one where a bellhop saves the day by drinking a ton of soda? Such is the unusual melding of ideas in the fantastical fairy tale-inspired resource management game Rose Riddle: The Fairy Tale Detective! You’re gonna want to bring your sense of humor for this one, as it gets really weird, really fast.

For the most part, Rose Riddle plays out like a lot of resource and time management games. Each level drops a maze of roads in front of you with all sorts of obstacles blocking your way. Instead of piles of sticks or fallen trees, though, you get actual road blocks, locked gates, busted bits of pavement, and puddles of water. To get rid of these blockades all you need to do is click to send out a worker. Assuming you’ve got the required resources, he’ll clear the path in a few seconds and you can continue your journey.

Speaking of resources, Rose Riddle: The Fairy Tale Detective bucks the trend by roping a few unusual items into the mix. Food is a given, because workers gotta eat, right? You’ll also need money, tools, and materials for general purpose building repair and obstacle elimination. And how about soda, hmm? Did you ever think you’d need to build a soda well and pump the sweet carbonated stuff out of the ground? Soda is used to upgrade a few buildings, but it also fuels the game’s power-ups. If you need to give your workers a speed boost, just toss some soda into the HUD and they’ll instantly get some pep in their step.

Every level in Rose Riddle has a few set goals you’ll need to complete before proceeding. Most of them are fairly simple, things like upgrading a certain building to generate resources or repairing the right structures so other fairy tale creatures can do their thing. A few involve picking up certain items and using them along with characters or unique buildings. One stage has you picking up keys to lock sealed doors, which you don’t get to do in time management games all that often!

Rose is on a mission to investigate her parents’ disappearance, however, and she’ll need to use her detective skills from time to time by assembling things like lost letters, then sticking them in her scrapbook and investigating them further. There are even entire levels devoted to investigations and story-centric plot reveals, all without breaking the resource management setting. It’s a small change from the basic formula, but you’ll be surprised how entertaining it can be.

Rose Riddle: The Fairy Tale Detective is an absolute treat. It packs all the best features of resource gathering and task prioritization without any of the dull set pieces we’ve grown to tolerate. It’s bright, cheerful, often funny, and surprisingly witty. If you have even a passing interest in resource management games, this one’s definitely for you.

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