Fairy Tale Mysteries: The Puppet Thief (Collector's Edition)
Year Published: 2012
Publisher: Artifex Mundi
Developer: The House of Fables/Gogii Games

Fairy Tale Mysteries: The Puppet Thief is a typical 2012 hidden object game whose only real attempt at innovation is in the cutscenes. You are an "examiner", which I guess is this game's version of a paranormal investigator, and you are sent to the village of Arbourshire to stop a being who is luring the children away with a puppet show. This "Puppet Thief" has the ability to attach magical strings to children and adults alike and control them like marionettes. Why he can't just do this to you is never explained, through he threatens it at one point.

Angry mobs are less threatening when magic can subdue them.

What follows is a typical series of "find item", "use item", and "solve puzzle" routines, which are so lacking in inspiration that one of them is a "Sliding Tile". A small amount of effort was given to the animations and voice acting in the cutscenes, but it's only half-realized (if that much). There is more dialogue than there is story and the only relation any of it has to any "Fairy Tales" I'm aware of is that your bosses are the Brothers Grimm, for some reason. One thing that set the Midnight Mysteries series apart from other HOGs in this era is that they really embraced their subject matter. You didn't just have Edgar Allan Poe as your mentor and then nothing else had anything to do with Poe. That's how it is with Fairy Tale Mysteries, and though the beginning shows some promise with an angry mob setting things on fire, they quickly disappear with some explanation that the Grimms put them to sleep with a spell. Offscreen "magic" solves a lot of problems in Arbourshire.

The Grimm Brothers have photorealistic heads weirdly superimposed on cartoon bodies.

With only 2-3 hours of playtime, sometimes pretty but generally outdated graphics, and a bonus chapter that's nothing to get excited over, Fairy Tale Mysteries is a game one can safely skip unless you've played the (much better) sequel and really feel the need to play the first game, too.

SCORE: 2.5/5



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