Reviews for Dark Parables: Jack & The Sky Kingdom Collector's Edition

[Post New]by JustTheFacts on Feb 6, 14 1:06 AM
If they’d just fix the graphics...****

BASED ON BETA

FIRST IMPRESSIONS

At the start, my reaction was, “I’m through buying Dark Parable games, forgiving the low definition graphics because of the art and the story”. I mean, there really is no excuse. These are quality games in every way, with astonishingly beautiful art, how can they continue to justify this poor quality in their visuals? Well, I surely don’t know.

But soon into the game, I was again hooked by the story. The developer has a knack for combining elements of several different fairy tales or fables into one delightful adventure. So now, I’m thinking of relenting. Again.

SIGHTS & SOUNDS
Well, you’ve heard my rant against the graphics, which, it is important to note, remain as bad in the HOPs as everywhere else. There isn’t even a wide screen option, so everything is stretched and distorted. The music, on the other hand, is lovely and in keeping with the mood of the game. The voiceovers are excellent.

WHAT’S HAPPENING?
As Fairy Tale Detective, you are once again called upon to investigate trouble in a fable-related context. The legendary Sky Kingdom has become visible, there have been bits of its island falling to earth, people are getting hurt. And there seems to be some kind of war going on. You hook up with Jack (move over Indiana Jones, this guy could be your stunt double), an adventurer who has actually been to the Sky Kingdom. In one of those touches I love about this series, Jack’s cottage contains reminders of all the previous Dark Parable games, and there’s a familiar face there.

GAMEPLAY
This is a FROG (fragmented hidden object game) that follows the formula of the earlier games. There are some great puzzles, and the adventure side of the game is very good – a little challenging, but not a struggle. But it is those FROG scenes that are famous. Beautifully crafted objets d’art are broken up and scattered throughout a scene, and you must put them back together. Again, better graphics would be so wonderful in these scenes.

There is a directional hint, and an interactive map, that does not allow you to jump. I don’t particularly like the map, which gives both objectives and areas of interest, because most of the time there are no areas of interest indicated on it. Yet obviously there is something somewhere that needs doing. So. I stick to hint. There is no journal.

To be continued...

Edited on 02/06/2014 at 9:04:19 AM PST


 

Re:Reveiws for Dark Parables: Jack & The Sky Kingdom Collector's Edition

[Post New]by JustTheFacts on Feb 6, 14 1:07 AM
GAMEPLAY Continued...

There are 3 modes of difficulty, or you can choose to simply turn off sparkles on either HOPs or active areas.

CE BLING!
As with other Dark Parables games, the collectibles take the form of objects in the locations that make up a part of one of the fables used to construct the story. There are 4 per parable, and I think there are 5 parables. Other extras have not yet been indicated.

COMBINED IMPACT
It’s a good game. It could have been a great game. Still, for those who are playing on a laptop, this game will look magical!

I recommend this game!

 
nomatt
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Re:Reveiws for Dark Parables: Jack & The Sky Kingdom Collector's Edition

[Post New]by nomatt on Feb 6, 14 1:15 AM
I actually can't be bothered with it. It's yet another game where if you choose not to have hand holding sparkles they take the hint of you! For what possible reason? I use hints very rarely, they are a last resort when I start to get frustrated but it is my choice when to use them. I have plenty of other games to get on with, why this stupid hobbling is still being forced on people is a mystery to me, it doesn't improve anything at all.

 
Nilosh
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Re:Reveiws for Dark Parables: Jack & The Sky Kingdom Collector's Edition

[Post New]by Nilosh on Feb 6, 14 1:27 AM
The popular series has returned with yet another classic fairy tale, Jack and the Beanstalk. Our story takes place in Alblasserwaard, a peaceful town in Holland that is suddenly disrupted by the appearance of the legendary Sky Kingdom that is virtually floating above them. Once again you are the famous fairytale detective and are summoned to rescue the townsfolk from what appears to be some rather disgruntled giants from the above. This time you have help and that is where Jack, the infamous treasure hunter comes in and together your adventure begins.

I have to say that the graphics and visuals are just stunning in this game however there is no wide screen option which naturally will ruin it for some.. As always with these developers, beautiful artwork, a lot of ambient sounds, sharp graphics and animations that really bring this game alive at your fingertips. I love just looking at the scenes, the details and the music and voice-overs are relatively good. Visually this game has much to offer, and for fans of fragmented hidden objects scenes, this game has plenty to offer. Unfortunately for me, I am not a fan of the FROG.

Game features three levels of difficulty and they can be customized via game menu. If you are a fan of the Dark Parables series, then you are familiar with the various features like morphing objects that will charge your hint meter faster, a collection of parables that complete the story in your journal, a task list and a map that surprisingly enough does NOT allow for travel, so be prepared for some backtracking. There is no journal here and a lot of clicking around trying to find inventory objects to pick up. The most curious thing about this paticular game is I do not have an SG and as far as I can see, it is nowhere to be found on my system which will be yet the second thing that decides for me to hold off forth SE of this game.

Storyline, sights, sounds, artwork, mini-games and puzzles are all very well done but no jump map, no journal, no SG (at least for me), no collectables or achievements (there are morphing objects in every scene) and fragmented objects, this game just does not sit well with me this time. I will wait for the SE!

 
giddiup101
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Re:Reveiws for Dark Parables: Jack & The Sky Kingdom Collector's Edition

[Post New]by giddiup101 on Feb 6, 14 2:00 AM

Edited on 02/06/2014 at 11:15:54 AM PST


 
nomatt
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Re:Reveiws for Dark Parables: Jack & The Sky Kingdom Collector's Edition

[Post New]by nomatt on Feb 6, 14 2:15 AM

Edited on 02/06/2014 at 11:16:44 AM PST


 
firebird40
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Re:Reveiws for Dark Parables: Jack & The Sky Kingdom Collector's Edition

[Post New]by firebird40 on Feb 6, 14 2:17 AM
I have all of these, I think, up to this one. And after the last one, I decided I wouldn't buy anymore until they updated their development to include wider screens, jump maps, and etc. I can wait for the SE on this one if I buy it at all- the graphics and storyline are awesome, but the tiny screen, non-interactive map and the fact that the SG appears to be AWOL in at least some windows versions make this not CE quality.

As an aside, sparkles can be adjusted/removed on the options screen, and there is supposed to be an SG, it just isn't showing up on a lot of windows systems, it seems. According to comments in the main thread, it should be a tab above your inventory bar that says "Guide".

Back to dark manor, sigh....

 
gryhndlvr
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Re:Reveiws for Dark Parables: Jack & The Sky Kingdom Collector's Edition

[Post New]by gryhndlvr on Feb 6, 14 4:42 AM
Another pretty good game from the series. However I still do not like the grainy look of this dev's graphics. It makes me lose interest of the game.
I don't mind FROGS and minigames have been easy so far....but the darn graphics.
And yes, Nilosh there is a wide screen option.
Not sure if I will buy yet, although story is pretty good so far.
It does not seem to have a SG again, only the parables. Maybe there is a sale coming up and I will get it then.

 
gamblebug
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Re:Reviews for Dark Parables: Jack & The Sky Kingdom Collector's Edition

[Post New]by gamblebug on Feb 6, 14 5:14 AM

Edited on 02/09/2014 at 9:15:11 AM PST


 
sfr8rfan
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Re:Reviews for Dark Parables: Jack & The Sky Kingdom Collector's Edition

[Post New]by sfr8rfan on Feb 6, 14 5:20 AM
Part One of Three


BEEN HERE. DONE THAT.


The sixth edition of Dark Parables makes its appearance nine months after The Final Cinderella, its predecessor in this prolific series. Stephen Zhao, the president of Blue Tea Games, spoke of his inspiration and said he wanted to merge strong stories with great game-play experiences.

The Dark Parables lineup stands head and shoulders above the competition. The problem is, they stand together. I’ve used the analogy in the past of a prolific novelist who writes love stories, for instance (or crime novels, whatever), one after another. Each has its own title, cast of characters and story line, but each is essentially the same book. It’s a formula...a very successful formula, to be sure...but a formula nonetheless. That's the downfall of Jack and the Sky Kingdom.

This series has lost its pizzazz for me, and not just because of the formulaic nature. To me, the whole genre lacks sufficient intrigue and edge. I like murder and mayhem and maybe a little of the paranormal for spice. This game has none of that in my opinion.

Jack and the Sky Kingdom is written in the first person and you are the detective-protagonist. Don’t be confused by that. Detective or no, this is a fairy tale. Period. In addition to that, whether or not I like the “genre” is of little importance. This game will be judged as among the best and most highly anticipated games of 2014 by many of you. I just can't agree.

FUN FACTOR
This game is pretty pure Hidden Object...and little else. As a result, I don't find it very fun at all.

To Be Continued…

 
sfr8rfan
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Re:Reviews for Dark Parables: Jack & The Sky Kingdom Collector's Edition

[Post New]by sfr8rfan on Feb 6, 14 5:28 AM
Part Two of Three

VISUAL/SOUND QUALITY
This is the best part of the game.

Visuals: It’s beautiful to look at. The visuals are great. I prefer live acting in games (I think I'm in the minority). While there isn't any of that here, the characters are so well drawn as to look live!
The objects are brilliantly drawn. I’ve seen complaints in the past about the quality of the artwork of Blue Tea Games. The complaints are way off target. This is great visual craftsmanship.

Sounds: The music SOARS. That was the first note I wrote as I was playing. Splendid music. As for the voice-overs, they are very well done also.
Sight and Sound come together with well-executed lip-synching. Unfortunately, you won't find it here. There’s no synchronicity between the voices and the moving lips and that shouldn’t be the case these days. This is my only technical complaint about the game.

LEVEL OF CHALLENGE:
The whole game is about the acquisition of hidden (or not-so-hidden) objects. In addition to this regular game play you will also have the task of completing HOGs and mini-games.
HOGs: If you’ve played predecessors of this game, you’ll recognize the HOG format. There’s a triptych of objects to collect. Upon completion of each section of the triptych you’re awarded an item. Complete all three parts of the triptych and the three awarded items merge together to become one item which is almost immediately used and pushes the story forward.
The HOGs need to be a lot tougher. There are between 25 and 30 HOGs and they are WAY TOO EASY. Items are pictured, not listed. That’s a problem. Your job is to find their twin in context. The items are SO OBVIOUS that several times I completed the HOG without once looking at the prompts. I could just tell what needed to be collected (and believe me, I'm no psychic). Since the game is primarily an HOG, I think this needs some serious upgrading to be considered a challenge, much less fun.
Mini-Games: There are 15 mini-games.. There is the puzzle where you have to create a link between two items using a specific number of spaces. There is the puzzle where you move individual items to their own nesting spots but the items move in tandem. There are memory games where you need to remember the position of and then eliminate pairs. The puzzles are too familiar and WAY TOO EASY. In the 3.5 years Blue Tea Games has been developing stories, I'd think someone could have been inspired to create a new game.

To be continued...

 
sfr8rfan
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Re:Reviews for Dark Parables: Jack & The Sky Kingdom Collector's Edition

[Post New]by sfr8rfan on Feb 6, 14 5:30 AM
Continuation: Part Three of Three

STORY LINE: (you can read this in the description, but here you go...)
A mysterious floating island is the Sky Kingdom. It appears from behind clouds. (While playing the game, I thought "This looks SO COOL.") As soon as this floating metropolis can be seen it begins to fall apart and pieces of the island fall to the ground. A number of citizens are injured and people are desperate to stop the destruction. Enter the swashbuckling Jack. Rumor has it that he was in/on the Sky Kingdom once and he can provide guidance. He has a past. And like all who have a past, he has enemies. Maybe don't get so chummy with this guy!


COLLECTOR'S EDITION:
This is a Collector’s Edition and has the following features:
a. The “Who Cares” assortment of Wall Paper, Concept Art, Music and Cut Scenes.
b. 20 morphing objects
c. Parable Notes (if you played previous versions of this series, you’ll recognize this: there are five or six stories divided into 4 or 5 parts. When you gather the “notes” you can see the whole “parable” or “fable.”
d. A bonus chapter with an additional 8 HOGs and 3 mini-games.
e. Bonus puzzles.

Doing this review is like being the sports writer for a newspaper who’s told to review the ballet Saturday night after you spent the whole day at the ballpark. How do you do it? Well, you do your best to be objective and grade it as though you loved ballet and were an expert. You make honest judgments about what you see and experience and you communicate them. That is what I’ve done here.

I can tell you this: If I liked this style of game, I would also LIKE, NOT LOVE, this game. It has its deficiencies. Although there are parts which are really good, this series needs an overhaul in my estimation. It's getting stale. This book has been written before, so to speak.

I will recommend this game, but with an asterisk. I think you should try the free trial period and then determine whether you want to buy this game or just replay one of its predecessors that you already own. If it's different enough for you and the re-tooled story line is fun, then by all means get it.

One note: I accidentally mis-starred this game on the site. It should be 3-stars across the board.

 

Re:Reviews for Dark Parables: Jack & The Sky Kingdom Collector's Edition

[Post New]by LuvDemGames on Feb 6, 14 5:40 AM
This is just a so-so game for me. Might buy as a SE, or if there is a sale. I don't like FROGs to start with and this one is so busy it hurts my eyes to find the objects. The story is okay, although I am a bit confused about where I am; am I in part of the Sky Kingdom or in the town. I think I am exploring a piece of the kingdom that has fallen. Just not grabbing me.


 
hd2222
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Re:Reviews for Dark Parables: Jack & The Sky Kingdom Collector's Edition

[Post New]by hd2222 on Feb 6, 14 7:47 AM
WOW! Almost bought this game without playing the demo. Blue Tea games are #1 in the creation of FROGS (in my opinion), surpassed by none. Playing their games has been a visual feast for me, especially the stunningly detailed, bejeweled FROGS that could leave one breathless. ALWAYS an instant buy for me, BUT, It's as if, to me, a new team created this game. Instead of a visual feast, I felt I was looking at "leftovers". The individual fragments were so easy to spot one had no need to consult the clues. And when they were assembled, you had ...TA DA ... an article that looked (again, to me) like colored cardboard. Sorry to say that, since the FROGS and artwork are the factors which influence me to buy this series, this game will not be added to all the previous CE's in this series that I have. Maybe their next game will revert back to the standards and quality for which they first drew my attention. One can only hope.

 

Old School Charm

[Post New]by Heavenlyrabbit on Feb 6, 14 8:37 AM
Not all the bells and whistles of newer games but still a solid offering.

Overall, this game is a mixed bag with many strong positives countered by negatives.

Beautiful graphics but they are blurry.

Decent story line but bland and lacking excitement.

Another reviewer seemed to hit upon what I felt- this has become formulaic. A high quality game but much too familiar.

Since the Devs haven't upgraded things like maps, hints, collectibles to the level we find in so many other new games today, this is probably a game I will wait for the SE.




Edited on 02/06/2014 at 8:39:24 AM PST


 
bfgWendwater
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Re:Reviews for Dark Parables: Jack & The Sky Kingdom Collector's Edition

[Post New]by bfgWendwater on Feb 6, 14 9:01 AM
Hello Everyone,

Welcome to the reviews thread! Please feel free to post your thoughts and feedback on Dark Parables: Jack & The Sky Kingdom Collector's Edition here. We appreciate the time you take to put your reviews together, and I know other gamers and the developers do as well. We just have a few guidelines to keep in mind when posting. Our goal with these is to keep the thread tidy, easy to navigate and helpful.

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MsNetty61
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Re:Reviews for Dark Parables: Jack & The Sky Kingdom Collector's Edition

[Post New]by MsNetty61 on Feb 6, 14 10:54 AM
Very pretty....as usual...good graphics... as usual...nice storyline... as usual...
I'm bored with the same old, same old.....
Something new from Blue Tea, you have so much potential...
.

 

Re:Reviews for Dark Parables: Jack & The Sky Kingdom Collector's Edition

[Post New]by daisyduck352 on Feb 6, 14 11:49 AM
Love the game... Have all the Dark Parables games and this one don't disappoint. It's always a nice change to have FROG's. Graphics are great and music is a nice relaxing sound. Know I will have fun playing the game and will purchase the CE.. Give this 5 out of 5 stars

 
tesamoine
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Re:Reviews for Dark Parables: Jack & The Sky Kingdom Collector's Edition

[Post New]by tesamoine on Feb 6, 14 12:09 PM
I'm not sold on this one at all. The grainy graphics appear again. Many many (too many) FROGS. I am not a fan of them at all, however, I cannot dislike the game because of them, being it IS a FROG game. I just think there are an overabundance of them. Pretty music, bright (although blurred grainy) colors. Usual story line. This to me, if you take away the glitz, is a standard FROG game. Put your pieces together, move on the next FROG. Many people love the familiar aspect of this game. Fairy tale, FROG, a couple puzzles, etc. I expect more from a game. Also, as a CE, this is sorely lacking. This is a pass for me.

 
jmwillo
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Re:Reviews for Dark Parables: Jack & The Sky Kingdom Collector's Edition

[Post New]by jmwillo on Feb 6, 14 1:23 PM
Have all the previous Dark Parables but some how I just couldn't get into this game, don't know why exactly but a little disappointed with some of the game play. It will be a no for me to the C E will try again if a SE come out.

 
 
 
 
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