The ORDER of the THORNE: the KING'S QUEST (Infamous Quests)
This is another retro graphic style adventure. It is a point and click animated challenge which plays like an old-fashioned text adventure but in visual format. Do you remember the text adventures where you would get information such as "You see a tree" or "By the river there are some flowers" and then when you type "Get Flowers" or "Climb Tree" you get the infamous reply "I see no tree/flowers". Well here you can SEE the tree and you can SEE the flowers and they are even tagged so you know they are in fact a tree and some flowers, but you still cannot do anything with them - at least not with the majority of them.
You are FINN the Bard, son of Donal of Galway. Donal was a Knight in the Order of the Thorne in the Faerie Land of CRANN NAIMH. Every year King Quilhaim issues a Challenge whereby the winner is given a Wish. The challenge this year is to find the missing Queen. Finn can go along the various pathways, often taking trails through the forest that at first glance don't look like pathways, which already makes this a much better game than other graphic adventures which are generally fairly linear. On his travels Finn meets a variety of other people, Faeries, Gnomes, a grumpy Priest, a sleeping Bear, a Troll (on a Bridge of course) a couple of Fishermen and two playful young ladies, Snow and Rose Red (hmmm!!).
Meeting Rose Red and Snow actually does Finn a good favour as they teach him a couple of useful songs. Right near the start of the game a Pixie steals Finn's Song Book and being a Bard the loss of his book means he cannot play his songs (spells), so thanks to Rose Red and Snow Finn isn't completely useless.
A couple of correct pathways takes Finn to where the Pixie is, in a tree with some Faeries. The Pixie refuses to give the book back unless Finn can do a favour which involves a nasty creature. When you meet the huge Dryad style spider you think you are on the right track, but she (the spider queen) convinces you that going past her is the wrong way to find the missing Queen - also the game will not let you progress that way. The same thing occurs when you find an eastern pathway guarded by two soldiers - they tell you the Queen isn't down that path but if you try to go along it anyway an invisible force prevents you and a message informs you that going there would take you to another Kingdom.
And so the game continues......
I can't believe I am going to say this, but everyone who reads my PC reviews knows that I am not a fan of retro game styles, and yet here I am merrily playing this game and the time has passed quickly and enjoyably.
A word on Lute playing. You can either play it the easy way or the hard way (the easy way is very easy and the hard way isn't really that hard). The easy way has you just clicking on a button and letting the Lute play the chosen song automatically. The harder way has you selecting the spellsong and then playing a mini game of "Simon" where you watch the notes played on a stave and then have to repeat them. This is fun and cute to begin with but as you continue playing and the tempo speeds up you want to get on with the game and not get side-tracked.
Order of the Thorne: The King’s Challenge is available for purchase on Steam
A launch trailer for Order of the Thorne: The King’s Challenge is available here: