Genre:   Adventure

Developer:   Realmforge Studios

Publisher:    Kalypso Media

Released:  February 2009

PC Requirements:   Windows XP / Vista, 1.6GHz Processor,  512MB RAM, 128MB 3D-accelerated video card (64MB recommended) Video card, DirectX 9, DVD-ROM  


Additional Screenshots





by Looney4Labs


Wicked, fiendish, contemptible, incorrigible, nefarious, iniquitous, peccant, misanthropic, sardonic, cynical, evil-- hmm…. All words perfectly applicable to many a villain, but seldom used when speaking of heroes. Well, at least, not until now.

With its initial adventure game release, Ceville (henceforth known as Ceville the game or CTG), Realmforge (formerly Boxed Dreams) and Kalypso Media have redefined the word “hero” and the term may never be the same.

CTG uses third-person perspective and beautifully bright and detailed cartoon graphics to weave a tale told from an unusual viewpoint. As King and tyrant of Faeryanis, King Ceville has had things his own way with no care or concern for his populace for far too long. As the game begins, the downtrodden masses rise in revolt and are soon joined by the palace guard. The egomaniacal despot is forced to flee.

Basilius, a villain even more reprehensible than the overthrown monocrat, secretly maneuvers to seize the mantle of power. As a result, the gamer is forced to aid Ceville, the villain-who-will-eventually-be-a-hero, first in his flight and, in due course, in his attempt to thwart the malevolent Basilius’ scheme.

“I am the undemocratically chosen despot of all Faeryanis.” King Ceville

Ceville himself is short of stature as well as morals. His handlebar mustache accentuates his beady eyes and his waddling walk brought forth many a chuckle from me. He is aided in his quest by an unlikely heroine by the name of Lilly, who reminds me of nothing so much as of a Precious Moments figurine brought to life. She is guileless, and in her credulity decides to help the “rightful ruler” regain his throne.

Lilly’s innocence and Ceville’s callousness are perfect foils for each other. She teaches Ceville there is more to life than self-gratification while, at the same time, she learns that certain actions are not always wrong or always right. You’ll also occasionally control Ambrosius, paladin extraordinaire and a shining example of knighthood (if only he were just a bit less narcissistic).

Each character brings different talents to the quest and you will need to switch between them as together they work their way through a land heavily populated with unforgettable souls. Each one is a bit “over-the-top” even for a stereotype, but that just adds to the fun in this game.

For instance, Klunk is a very large, very stupid guard. His much too small tunic bares his outsized belly. His main concern in life seems to be when the next meal time will be. He is paired with Smiley, a vertically challenged but minimally brighter sentry who quotes the rule book with glee. I found the Black Pirate’s look-- two wooden legs (one is a mop) and a bird’s nest, complete with bird in his left eye socket--perfect. Though this list barely scratches the surface, I’ll just say each persona presents just the right appearance, personality, and voice--and stop there in order to let you have the delight of discovery for yourself.

“Actually, this would be the time for a sarcastic comment but I think the situation speaks for itself.” King Ceville

CTG is a dialogue heavy game so it’s great that the voice acting is consistently excellent. The entertaining dialogue good-naturedly takes aim at every gaming convention, pop icons, fairytale creatures, fantasy story standards, popular movies, classic books and more. Nothing and no one is spared. Laughter was the order of the day as I merrily ushered Ceville/Lilly/Ambrosius on their way.

Lampooning iconic images was not limited to graphics or dialogue, however. Music much reminiscent of the Indiana Jones’ theme accompanies a great escape moment, and the music at all times contributed greatly to the escapist feel of the game--as did the ambient sounds. Ceville’s thunkity-thunk footsteps contrast nicely with Lilly’s more graceful tappity-tap.

“This place is full of abhorrently peaceful pictures.” King Ceville

Faeryanis is a delightful fairytale of a place complete with an overgrown mushroom house, a castle, a jack-of-all-trades peddler, and a manacled grey-haired prisoner hanging on the wall of the local jail house. Most screens include some small animations, a touch that I always enjoy. Ceville’s actions to gain/leave his chair in the dining room are quite fun. I especially liked Ceville and Lilly’s slightly distorted reflection in a pool of water in the Elven forest.

“Did you know these texts only exist to hide the fact of long loading times?” Ceville, the game

Traveling around Faeryanis is easy and the control scheme is flexible. The mouse can handle everything or you can elect to use a combination of mouse and keyboard. Saves are unlimited, at will, and you can name them. In addition, the game autosaves every five minutes.

CTG is a highly customizable game, allowing you to fine-tune texture and gamma, as well as independently adjusting volume for the background music, voice, effects, and ambient sounds. Subtitles are available (I noticed a few scattered typos), and conversations can be skipped, though one must be careful not to skip crucial conversations.

A double left click on the ground sends your character running, or you can click on an area for instant transportation. Also, later in the game you get an interactive map. While generally easy to use, in certain areas I had to move Lilly/Ceville several times in order to reach a trigger spot.

My favorite interface feature is the ability to reveal all hot spots (spacebar).

While I never did any true pixel hunting, I was stuck several times until I remembered to use this feature. Without exception, this always revealed an item I had failed to notice.

“It’s unbelievable how many useless and repulsive things we lug around with us.” King Ceville

The preponderance of CTG’s puzzles are inventory based. Ceville/Lilly/Ambrosius will need a certain item to complete an action. Some are simple fetch and carry missions while others are complex and multi-stepped. The gamer may be required to pass inventory between avatars or switch players frequently, or both. While many of these posers were logical (well, in context anyway), sometimes I was entirely clueless. Most of these times were in the last act when I was often reduced to trying every inventory item with its fellows as well as with everything on-screen until I succeeded. Occasionally, that led to an “aha, why didn’t I think of that” moment--but not always.

There are a few timed sequences. They are not difficult and if you fail, you begin from the start of that puzzle. Most required a few tries to figure out what I was supposed to do. Armed with that knowledge, I was easily able to finish in the time allowed. Even better, with each failure additional seconds are added to the clock. If one must have timed puzzles, this is the way to implement them.

Additionally, there is one sound puzzle, but visual clues are also provided. There are no mazes, sliders, or mini-games.

Though not a fan of watching credits, I found that CTG employs a novel approach. Be sure to stay tuned to the end for a bit of a surprise.

“I should punish them all.” King Ceville

Much is well done in this game, but not everything. For example, CTG is not Alt+Tab or Windows key friendly. Indeed, both times I tried to multitask while playing resulted in a hard lock.

The game crashed to the desktop five additional times, though it ran fine each time upon restarting.

Loading times were long--twenty to thirty seconds on the initial opening and between chapters which wasn’t too bad, but the ten to fifteen second time lapse between locations became increasingly aggravating the more I had to back trek. Though that may not sound like a lot, it did break up the continuity of the game. The developers must have realized this as they placed tips, some useful and some humorous, on-screen during these changes.

Also, when playing with subtitles on, the first one or two words on the right and the last one or two on the left were off-screen on my widescreen monitor.

In addition, twice lines were spoken that made no sense in that scene. Too, I heard mild expletives a handful of times.

I had a few other random problems. For example, once Ceville did not make an observation needed to advance the story and another time a character was out of place and refused to move. However, I was not able to replicate these errors on replay.

“By Aules weeping eye, that’s the truth of it.” Dwarf

Realmforge and Kalypso are to be commended for this, their initial game. CTG offers an easy and intuitive interface, bright and clear graphics, outstanding voice acting, puzzles ranging in difficulty from “Of course” to “You’ve got to be kidding,” and dialogue that is both witty and droll.

Be warned that, though the game ends, this story has joined many others in titillating us with a not-quite-tied-up story with the promise of more to come. I will be first in line to play it.

Grade: A-

Short List:

Third person perspective adventure game

Mouse controlled, though keyboard shortcuts can be used

Space bar reveals all hot spots

Unlimited saves

Save at will

Name your own saves

Auto saves

Humorous dialogue which can be skipped

Excellent voice acting

Voice, sound effects, background music independently adjustable

Subtitles available

Clear cartoon graphics

Many memorable non-player characters

Mostly inventory puzzles

A few timed puzzles, but time given increases with each failure

No dying

No mazes

No sound dependent puzzles

No mini-games

No sliders

No solely color dependent puzzles

Not Alt+Tab friendly


I played on a computer with the following specifications:

OS: Win XP Professional SP3

Processor: Intel Core 2 Quad CPU @ 2.40 GHz

Ram: 3.25GB Dual Channel DDR2 667 w/ECC 2-DIMMs

Gx card: nVidia GE Force 8800 GTS

Sound card: Creative Labs Sound Blaster X-FI

Xtreme Music


Ceville is available on store shelves in the United Kingdom and via download at The Adventure Shop.

March, 2009

design copyright© 2009 GameBoomers Group

 GB Reviews Index