Published by: Kalypso Media
Developed by: Boxed Dreams
There was a time when wacky point and click adventure games were a normal occurrence but nowadays they are a rare phenomenon. Sure adventure games are still released but quite a lot of them just don't have that certain charm or personality that those old LucasArts (and to a certain extent Sierra) adventure games used to have. In recent years we've seen the humour starting to creep back in a little with games such as Runaway and its sequel and it's rather pleasing to see. Ceville is the latest adventure game to provide us with both a humorous storyline and some rather crazy characters.
The fantasy kingdom of Faeryanis is ruled by the evil Ceville, a moustachioed little despot who is as sarcastic as he is evil. He comes across as a squat Dick Dastardly type character (minus Mutley of course) with his demeaning demeanour and his ability to find the worst in people. You'll play as Ceville, as well as some of the other crazy characters in the game, and at the beginning of the game Ceville is about to be overthrown as the population of Faeryanis have had enough of his tyranny. Your first task will be to help Ceville escape his captors. On finding that an evil black magician called Basilius has plans to take the kingdom of Faeryanis for himself, it's imperative that Ceville reclaims his kingdom as quickly as possible.
On the back of the box the game claims to be a 'Wild and wacky adventure in the style of Monkey Island and Shrek.' From a visual standpoint there's certainly some truth in that statement with the fairy tale, medieval style of both locations and the characters in the game. The game certainly has the bright and colourful look that you would associate with the aforementioned game and movie. In fact the graphical style of the game really adds to the humorous feel of Ceville. In general however, the game isn't as humorous as you probably would have hoped for. There are certainly some humorous moments in the game but there are too many occasions when it just isn't funny at all and that's unfortunate. That said, the game is rarely dull thanks mostly to the bizarre nature of the characters in the game including Ceville himself, Lilly the sweet little girl, Ambrosius the heroic but self-absorbed paladin and the despicable Basilius. In total there are more than 30 different characters in the game and they could all be described as oddball.
In regards to the game's controls, Ceville is a pretty straightforward affair and will be instantly familiar to anyone who has played a point and click adventure game. You'll left click to move Ceville (or any other characters that you have to control). Right clicking on an object that you can interact with will allow you to look or use it etc. You can press (and hold) the spacebar at any time to reveal all of the objects you can interact with on your current screen. There are a couple of reasons why I really appreciate this. Firstly, it prevents you having to scan the screen with your mouse pointer in search of something you can interact with. Secondly, when you place your mouse pointer over the text you are told what possible action you can take by interacting with the object. There's none of this having to bring up a menu and select your chosen action nonsense that we've seen in past adventure games. There are times when you'll have to switch between characters, who are in different locations, and this is handled very well too, as you simply have to click the character portrait on the lower left of the screen. In short the developers have kept the control system very simple but very effective.
One of the main considerations in an adventure game is the quality of the puzzles. In this respect Ceville does quite well. The puzzles in the game are mostly logical and you won't find yourself frustrated with the puzzles many times during the course of the game. You will have to combine various items you have in your inventory at certain points but it's all pretty straightforward stuff. There are some time puzzles and some music puzzle. The music puzzle won't cause any problems however as the letter of the note is shown on screen (see the first screenshot), so there's no need to be able to hear the pitch of the notes being played.
Ceville certainly won't give deaf gamers any real problems but it could have been better. The game is subtitled, using colour-coded subtitles for each speaker, so you'll be fully aware of the game's storyline. Not all speech in the game is subtitled however. There are times when one of the main characters is talking and another character in the background will say something and there are no subtitles for this dialogue. Thankfully these comments are of little importance but they should have been subtitled nevertheless. There are some puzzles in the game which are time limited and a countdown is shown on screen so you're always aware that you do have a time limit and how much time remains for you to complete the puzzle.
Whilst Ceville is by no means one of the great point and click adventure games, it's certainly an enjoyable game that will appeal to most fans of the genre. There's a fair amount of humour in the game and the characters are enjoyable. The humour isn't consistent throughout the course of the game however and there times when the games does go decidedly flat. On the whole however, the game does have a certain charm. The bizarre nature of the characters and mostly logical puzzles help to make this an adventure game that most will enjoy and given the amount of bland adventure games out there, that's certainly appreciated.