A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this is a downloadable casual game for Windows PCs that stays true to the original novel and movie upon which it is based. Like its source material, it is meant to be enjoyed by both children and adults, though the former may find some of the game's activities -- particularly the word-based conundrums in the Battle of the Wits chapter -- quite challenging. There is very little violence, and no coarse language, sexuality, or illicit substances. It's also worth noting that, as in the book and film, Princess Buttercup isn't a traditional damsel in distress, but instead an active protagonist who helps to find solutions to the game's problems.
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What's it about?
It's taken more than two decades, but the Windows PC-based THE PRINCESS BRIDE GAME provides us with the first video game based on William Goldman's beloved fairy tale. Composed of about a hundred short challenges divided into five sections that focus on memorable scenes from the tale, the play ranges from simple point-and-click tasks in the As You Wish chapter to platform-style action in the Fire Swamp levels. All of the game's activities are suitable for children, though younger players may find the some of the word puzzles very challenging.
The story has been pulled directly from the 1987 movie The Princess Bride, and features well-rendered cartoon cut scenes that reenact portions of the film. Fans will appreciate that the spoken dialogue is identical to that of the movie, and that many of the film's original actors, including Mandy Patinkin, Robin Wright Penn, and Wallace Shawn, have reprised their roles. That said, the story definitely takes a backseat to the play. Narrative sequences are just long enough to provide context for the action about to take place, and you are provided only peeks of the story's progressive take on the fairy tale genus, such as when Princess Buttercup plays an active role in extracting herself and the Dread Pirate Roberts from the perils of the Fire Swamp.
Is it any good?
The multitude of challenges you confront are hit and miss. The initial point-and-click activities found in the first chapter are simple to the point of tedium; one can only feed hens and collect their eggs so many times before growing bored. However, things get downright tricky (and fun) in the Battle of The Wits chapter, which features plenty of quick little mindbenders in the form of logic, anagram, and rhyming puzzles. The engaging gameplay continues in the Fire Swamp chapter, which involves some entertaining running, jumping, and sword fighting. Sadly, the final two chapters -- potion mixing with Miracle Max and ammunition collecting in Storm the Castle -- are neither deep nor interesting enough to warrant the time players are expected to spend with them.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the story's unique sense of humor and how its plot diverges from those of traditional fairy tales. How does the character of Princess Buttercup differ from the princesses found in older fables? Do you think that the game remains faithful to its source material in both its spirit and the challenges it provides? How has the narrative managed to modernize the classic fairy tale themes of enduring love and honor?
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