Developer: OhNoo Genre: Adventure, One-Player Point-and-Click Adventure
The young Princess, Tsioque, has disappeared and the land is in uproar. The Good Queen, leading by example, has taken many of her troops and has left the Castle and the Town in the hands of her 'trusted' Wizard.
As soon as the Wizard has control it goes to his head and he determines to rule forever. He does all manner of magical skullduggery, turning the sky black, ensconcing the tower in lightning etc, and controlling the soldiers who are 'guarding' the Princess Tsioque.
Thus the first thing you have to do is discover how to get out of your cell. Usually the first puzzle in a game is a simple one, but from the off, in Tsioque, the problems require a modicum of thought and a correct sequence of Actions.
Instead of having a single tune dancing through the game, so many games have continuous monotonous muzak that eventually means you play the game with the sound off, but in Tsioque the music enhances the onscreen action just like the soundtrack of a movie.
You control Tsioque on her escape and continued journey to the revival of the Castle, Tower and Town. On your way you will encounter creatures who may as well be speaking in tongues as there is no chance of understanding them nor are there subtitles for every occasion.
There are plenty of hotspots where the cursor shape changes to various different icons, an eye, pair of legs or just a simple arrow pointer. There are times when if you click the regular arrow cursor on something, someone or whatever, (a person, item or place where no hotspot highlights under the cursors travel-over) it will change to a pair of gear cogs rotating which generally means something will happen or can happen if you do something else first to interact with and trigger the previous spot.
Graphically it's superb, with buildings inside and outside looking very much like the Hobbit or a Terry Pratchett animated movie. Most of the objects on a page are static but there are others which need triggering before they animate. The animation, such as the movement of the guards or even the movement and actions of Tsioque is adequate for the motion, walking, running, hiding etc that it needs, because this is all about solving puzzles and locating objects and thus movement is only necessary (in general) to get from one puzzle to the next problem. Manipulating items to solve puzzles is often the key, but rarely (if at all) are nonsensical items combined to make an even more non-sensical aid), though sometimes you only need to be quick enough with the cursor to prevent detection.
You carry a small Bag that can hold anything (within reason) rather akin to the AD&D/D&D item (Bag of Holding (tm) which is viewed bottom right on the screen and opens with a single click of the cursor, allowing all inside it to be seen and used quickly. There are times when you need to be very quick and dextrous in your use of the items you hold.
Despite its rather gloomy appearance, the Castle and surrounding area being darkened by the magic of the evil Mage, Tsioque trips through it lightly, immediately reappearing at the spot the game ended should you make a mistake involving her - ie. being to slow to dodge the guards - you are captured, perhaps killed, but it there is no gore nor anything to frighten young folk who may be playing or watching. But as I say, you do pop up exactly where your game ended so although you then know what is going to happen you still have to be fast to activate the action speedily.
Tsioque (I really can only guess at how to pronounce it, have no idea what it means, nor why such a confusing Title for a game was ever chosen) is a small Princess, small in stature, young in age, but she has that attitude which people of Nobility believes sets them apart from the rabble. She is quite loveable though and it is easy to like her and want to help her plight, thus you will find you are playing the game through to it's conclusion on one sitting not actually realising until too late just how short this adventure is, and it really doesn't have replayability which makes the £10.99 asking price one that each potential purchaser will have to wrestle with their conscience over. It's good, it's fun and it's friendly but it is also quite short in comparison with many Point & Click adventures; it is almost a throwback to ten or so years ago when Point & Click games started to get better to look at but the content was in the visuality rather than the actual game play - this isn't a bad thing.
Personally point and click puzzles are like any other kind of puzzle - if you don't get on the designer's wavelength then you may as well forget it, you will never guess the intention or the logic (if any) behind it. I play them as a matter of course for reviewing purpsoes but occasionally there comes along one or a few that really grab me and I need to play them to their conclusion, TSIOQUE is one of those. There is a sense of derring-do, the old Erroll Flynn style bravado, about the locations that remind one of the Prisoner of Zenda or the Man in the Iron Mask. Like those heroes you have to be quick with your brain more than with a rapier; there is always an answer to every puzzle but not all/many are immediately obvious.
This game should play well with the person who enjoys a good challenge.