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 Charm Tale
“ Many and many a year ago an evil spell was cast on the inhabitants of Fairyland. Grave is their fate, for no one dares to break the spell. Disenchant the motionless figures covered with mosaics.”
Ugh, who writes this stuff? this is not quote from a storybook it is the beginning of a game called “Charm Tale”.
To put it in simpler terms, this is a tale about a place called Fairyland which has pissed someone off royally. So pissed off in fact they put a curse on the good people and covered them with mosaic tiles pieces! It is our job to free them from their stained glass existence and return them to a peaceful time, a place where grown men can once again roam freely in tights.
Contrary to popular belief not all girls like fantasy stories filled with fairies, wizards and dwarfs. I, for one have never been enamored by the typical damsel in distress stories at all, so when I came across “Charm Tale” I was a little hesitant. But I put my misgivings aside for a couple of reasons, the screenshots from the game are gorgeous and I was itching to play a puzzle game, something I haven’t done in a while.

The mechanics of the game are simple, crystal pieces float down a chain from the top left hand corner and you must inlay them into a grid before they reach the chameleon on the bottom right side, and if it does the game is over, it starts off slow but your pattern recognition skills are put to the test pretty quickly. To make the gameplay more interesting, you also must recover an ancient artifact hidden within the background. The artifact has suffered the same fate as the people and has been broken, and must be reconstructed back to its original form. This sub mission won’t take you away from your game, the artifacts pieces float down alongside the crystal mosaic pieces, so you can kill two birds with one stone. After you have restored the precious thing-a-ma-jig you are offered a choice of 2 skill rewards, you decide which new skill will benefit you the most in order to complete the level.
Now let’s discuss the mosaic pieces shall we, at first glance I immediately thought of “Zuma”, in that objects entered from the left and if they reached the lower right you lost. Once I started playing, however I realized that is where the similarities end, this is neither a good thing or a bad thing. I like “Zuma” as much as the rest of you, but I was looking for a puzzler that made me do more than idly blast at like-colored balls.
There are an amazing amount of power ups and bonuses to “help you help them”, the chameleon for example will transform the big crystals into smaller ones, you can imagine how helpful that is when the large pieces are yanking your chain at times. Here is a list of other bonus pieces
RED SPIDER: will drop the closest pieces off the chain.
BLUE SPIDER: will drop all the pieces off the chain.
BLUE SHIFTING STONE: will push back the pieces on the chain.
SAND GLASS: stops the movement of the chain for a limited time.
As the game progressed I found that I didn’t need the help of the bonuses as much as I thought I did, and just like Dorothy from “The Wizard Of Oz” I realized I had the power within me all along.

The puzzles might seem daunting at first but after playing a few times you will begin to see the shapes within the grid with a blind eye even before they float in.
As the game gets more advanced grids will have numbers within them, these numbers correspond to how many times that particular form has to be filled. My tip is to fill these in first at the beginning of a level when you naturally have more time and breathing room to strategize, take advantage of an empty clutter free chain. Another nifty tip I can pass along to you is to look for identical pieces along the chain and fill the number slots with them. That way half the battle is already done, you know where the piece fits and just like they say ”set it and forget it” , why take a chance that you will not see this piece again or waste precious time rotating it willy- nilly.
After playing a few chapters a magical thing happened, (I run the risk of turning a whole bunch of you off but here goes), I realized that the pieces are mathematically and scientifically designed and just like Newton’s Law states “ for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction”. Wow, heavy stuff ! I won’t bore you with the details, you will understand what I mean fairly quickly once you get into the gameplay, and trust me you will be amazed! But since I didn’t lose you and you stuck with me, let me just throw one more quote at you that demonstrates how brilliant this game is, “The whole is greater than the sum of the parts”. There I’m done with the lessons for today, and don’t worry there won’t be a test on this!

While this game might at a casual glance seem to have a “Zuma/Teris/Puzzle Inlay” feel to it “Charm Tale” far surpasses all of them in terms of depth and replay value. It is a shame that such a great puzzle game might be overlooked by a lot of gamers by its outwardly cheesy, and unnecessary storyline. Oh and of course in the end they all lived happily ever after.
Get Charm Tale Here

Graphics A+
Sound A
Pickup & Play A
Overall Fun A

Posted by oxyjen on Oct 15, 2006


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