When Princess Isabella arrives home she finds that her castle has been overtaken by an evil witch. In order to lift the curse from the house and save her family and friends she must collect items and solve puzzles. Thankfully, she’s not at it alone. She is aided by a fairy companion with magical powers. Can you help Princess Isabella save her castle in this iPad port of the award winning PC game, A Witch’s Curse: Princess Isabella HD?
“Port” is an evil word in the gaming world. What it means is that a developer took a game that was originally designed for one platform and reworked it so that it can play on another. So what is the big deal? Well, a lot of the time that is all a developer does. What they should do is, retool the gaming experience to work in a way that is most beneficial to the platform they are moving the game to. Since the platform is the iPad in this case, the gameplay should be built around a touch screen interface. It doesn’t look like that is the route Princess Isabella developers took.
The game was an award winning game when it was released last year on PC and for good reason. The game embodies everything a game of this sorts should: unique puzzles, tons of objectives, and interesting ways things piece together. Puzzles span multiple rooms and each mini-game rewards you with something that helps you solve a bigger problem in the mansion.
Players will complete an array of casual mini-games: hidden object puzzles, Collapse-type puzzles, Luxor-like marble matching puzzles. You could literally name each and every big name casual game on the market and find a mini-game representation somewhere within Princess Isabella. The real fun comes when you finally earn enough items to complete a larger scale puzzle. My personal favorite would be when I had to recreate music on an instrument that I just finished collecting all the pieces for. All in all the mini-games are a lot of fun and they are all equally represented so you won’t find yourself completing one type of puzzle over and over again.
Your fairy companion gets enhanced with elemental abilities along the way that help uncover key objects and sometimes aid in more action packed ways like battling a people eating plant. This causes even more shifts in the pace of the game to ensure that you don’t get bored with one activity for too long.
The game short changes itself by being a port though. For one, the graphics are pretty horrible. It looks as if it were a PC game from the early 90’s. To no extent did they try and crisp up the graphics for the iPad 720p display. There is an eye aching blur that becomes a pain to look at after a short awhile.
The touch controls work well for the most part, but you can tell it was meant to be controlled with a mouse. It works, but if the developers took it one step further and added some additional puzzles that were handcrafted with the iPad’s touch controls in mind they could have really created some unique puzzles to enhance the experience. A missed opportunity that would have turned this good game into a great one.
Some puzzles are a little tough to figure out at first, which the game offers no help at solving. The gear puzzle in particular was difficult not because it was hard, but placing the cogs didn’t work as I had expected. It would have been nice for the fairy’s hint to have let me know how to manipulate the cogs instead of merely telling me I needed to put the cogs in the right order when I clicked on her hint ability.
A Witch’s Curse: Princess Isabella HD is an enjoyable game with lots of activities to do and puzzles to complete. The pacing is excellent and there are a variety of strategies you’ll have to put to use to solve the mansion’s mysteries. Because it is a port, it doesn’t have that hand-crafted-for-iPad feel that all iPad games should. There is nothing separating this version of the game from the original release on the PC, so if you’ve played it before there is no need to again.
Check it out in the App Store here.