Everlight: Of Magic and Power


Genre:   Adventure

Developer:   Silver Style Entertainment

Publisher:    The Adventure Company

Released:  September 2008

PC Requirements:   Windows XP / Vista, 2.6GHz Processor,  1 GB RAM, DirectX 9  compatible video card and sound





by Looney4Labs


“You accept your destiny. You can’t escape it anyway.” Jorag

Have you ever wanted to live in another time and place? Mayhap you’ll have a chance to explore new surroundings, make new friends, solve a longstanding mystery, and, oh yes, save the day? Have you ever wanted to interact with dancing mice or a talking frog? If so, take a look at the latest game from Silver Style Entertainment, Everlight: of Magic and Power.  

“What could happen, anyway?” Melvin

Told from the third person perspective, our story begins as Melvin, our budding hero, ducks into a candle shop to escape the pouring rain. There, the proprietor, Mr. Teeth, challenges him to a shell game. As they play and talk, Mr. Teeth reveals to Melvin that magic exists even in these modern days for those who know where to look. Furthermore, he says Melvin has it in him to become a strong magician. However, in order for this to happen, Melvin has to take a magical journey and conquer five challenges.

Melvin accepts his offer and is transported to a land which is certainly not his own. He discovers that he is in a town with a medieval appearance named Tallen. Unfortunately, this city lies under a curse. Each night as darkness falls, its citizens exhibit a strange and alien side of their character, but they don’t remember this in the mornings. Melvin needs to free these folks from this spell to begin to fulfill his destiny. And thus our journey begins.

“I’m an elf and my name is Fiona, idiot.” Fiona

Everlight gifts us with a strong and varied cast of characters. Because of the curse, we experience both the day and the night personae. This is an intriguing idea which gives us, among others, a sober and upright citizen who nightly becomes a hard drinking gambler, the wealthiest man in town who begs on the corner, and a shy clerk who suddenly starts searching for someone to kill.

Of course, we have Melvin, a young teen with the problems common to many of that age. There are girls, or to be more specific, the lack of a current girlfriend. He’s not sure of himself, and sometimes, he believes the end does justify the means. He’d not be out of place in any small town of our time, but he is definitely out of place in Tallen.

“Gnarly.” Farida

Fiona, his “spiritual guide” is, at first glance, a beautiful leaf-clad fairy. I loved the rainbow-colored stars that followed in her wake. But we soon learn there is more to her than appearances. She accompanies Melvin on his adventure, guiding him with her wise and often mocking words. Along the way, she challenges him to become more than he thinks he can be.

Be sure to gossip with Fiona regularly and to check out what is in her notebook as this serves as a hint system. She keeps a general overview of what Melvin needs to do. In addition, by clicking on the candles below the summary, she adds a little more info. These hints are limited to twenty for the duration of the game.

Of course, those individuals are just the tip of the iceberg. There are also Waldo (I finally found him) and Raymond and Farida, etc. I’ll leave you to discover the rest for yourself. My favorites though, were of the non-human variety. Who wouldn’t love the dancing mice, talking frog, gorgeous stag and, last but not least, the were-poodle.

“Can’t you see the grown-ups are talking?” Jeronimo

However, one character might be offensive to some, so here is my warning. During the day, Daphne is a helpful elderly lady. However, at night she displays her dominatrix side. At all times, her body is totally covered, but she does make suggestive comments and caress herself. To continue in the game, you have to interact with both her sides. I would not want to explain this to a young child, but I think that most adolescents would either laugh or say “gross.”

“Watch it you scoundrel. I have a magic sword +2.” Melvin

Along with a big cast of non-player characters comes a lot of dialogue. It is cheeky and irreverent most of the time and often pokes fun at the whole world of gaming. Sometimes, it seemed as if the writers were trying too hard. I did not find the dialogue hilarious, but I was amused and entertained. However, if you aren’t, much of it can be skipped. You should also be aware that there is the occasional use of language considered rude and also some drug references.

“Yuk, a talking human! How disgusting!” Frog

In general, the voice acting is very well done. In fact, it was so clear that I was able to discontinue the use of subtitles, which is very rare for me. Hocus, in particular, stands out as perfect casting and delivery, though he is not alone. Occasionally, I noticed an odd inflection or a flat delivery, but not often enough for it to be a problem.

Upbeat and lively, the background music put me in mind of a music box or merry-go-round. It helped set a light tone and at times, I enjoyed it. However, when I was stuck and touring around to find what trigger I had missed, I turned it off.

Ambient sounds are appropriate, but no particular element stands out.

“Carrot trees are very rare!”Daphne

Tallen is a medieval village with a Disney-esque flavor. Small animations add movement and life to the settings. I particularly liked the map depiction of the magic which engulfs the area, the way the clouds obscured the moon in the graveyard, and the birds and butterflies flitting around.

Characters move smoothly, but there is no attempt at synchronizing speech with mouth movement. The lip animation might begin anywhere within the sentence or it might not begin at all. Strangely, this did not bother me.

Many visual touches of humor enliven the game. For instance, there is a man-sized cell phone, the local hoosegow provides guest books with the accommodations, and we discover that skateboarding is popular here too.

“You have to use the most effective weapons known to man—slander and gossip.” Fiona

Everlight’s puzzles are nearly all inventory based with a few dialogue sequence posers thrown in for good measure. The inventory ones are mostly straightforward (for the gaming world anyway) and range in difficulty from easy to medium. One “fight” scene (don’t worry, the only action is verbal) is reminiscent of a duel in the Monkey Island series.

There are no sliders, mazes, color or sound dependent puzzles, no action bits or timed sequences and you cannot die.

“A sparse praise, but a praise at least.” Melvin

Everlight comes with a manual that explains everything beautifully and gets you in the right mood for the game. Be that as it may, there is one confusing element in it. When starting a new game, you choose your difficulty from one of four choices. The manual says the difficulty level can be adjusted downward during gameplay without having to start over, but I was never able to find an option that would allow that.

The interface is intuitive and features a smart cursor which becomes an eye (look), hand (take), wrench (use on), mouth (speak), door (exit), or an arrow (move). Left click to move and pick up etc. and right click to examine and hear what Melvin has to say about each object. Happily, the game is Alt Tab friendly.

You will use your keyboard for a few functions. The two most helpful ones are “H” which shows all exits and items, and F1 which brings up Fiona’s journal. The journal holds information about all of Melvin’s quests. Some entries feature three candles below the text. These provide extra hints if you click on them. It’s also fun to read the Finished Quests and see Fiona’s comments.

“Just about anyone can save the world.” Fiona

Saves are at will, unlimited, you get to name them, and the game adds a picture and date. Better yet, there is an autosave so if you are booted out, all is not lost. Sound options include independent choices for voice, background music, and sound effects.

To aid in Melvin’s journeys back and forth around Tallen, you have a beautifully rendered map. Single click to watch Melvin traverse from one area to another, or double click for instant transportation. You will also be able to turn night into day and vice versa using an icon in your inventory. This is quite handy, as some things can only be done at night, while others have to happen during the day.

My favorite feature, though, is the ability to pause cut scenes (space bar). We’ve all experienced life getting in the way of the cut scene, and often, it can’t be retriggered without resorting to a saved game. To me, including a function to pause during the cut scene is a prime example of game developers considering the needs of the gamer.

“We haven’t found a solution for that yet.” Steve

It’s a good thing I enjoyed the game, as it was difficult to get running. The problem was a good old-fashioned feud between my virus scanner (AVG) and the game. There are several workarounds if you use AVG, but no patch as of this writing.

Everlight crashed to the desktop a few times. Fortunately, I could restart the game and pick up from where (or close to where) I left off. There was only one place that crashed consistently with all others happening randomly.

The unfailing one occurs while Melvin is speaking with Farida. A dialogue choice appears that shouldn’t be there. The item has already been used and is no longer in inventory, and yet one dialogue choice said that Melvin still had it. I selected it to see what would happen and was booted out of the game. I reloaded and tried again with the same results. However, just ignoring that line allowed Melvin to continue.

“’Nuff said.” Melvin

On the surface, Everlight: Of Magic and Power is the story of a modern teen suddenly transported through time and space to aid a town in need of a hero. But as I played it, I began to notice some underlying themes--little morality questions here and there, a look at ethics, consequences of choices, and the opportunity to question what I would be if I became my polar opposite every night.

I enjoyed my journey with Melvin and Fiona, and was glad to see the story wrapped itself up neatly at the end. I would certainly recommend this game to those who enjoy fairly straightforward logic puzzles set in a fantasy world and inhabited by eccentric characters with sassy dialogue.   

Grade: B+

Quick list:

Four difficulty levels

3rd person perspective

Alt tab friendly

Eccentric NPCs

1 character whose behavior may be offensive

Cheeky dialogue but parts of it may be skipped

Overall good voice acting

No synchronization between voice and mouth animations

Voice adjustable independently from other sounds

Subtitles available

Interactive map

Logical inventory puzzles with a few dialogue challenges

No sliders, mazes, color, sound, or timed puzzles

You can’t die

Mouse-controlled movement with keyboard for some information functions

Built-in hints

Save at will, saves unlimited, you name them, and they have a picture and time stamp

Space bar pauses cut scenes

Conflicts with AVG virus software

Crashed to desktop a few times, but autosave prevented having to repeat large sections of the game

Story beautifully tied up

I played this game on:

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

November 2008

design copyright © 2008 GameBoomers Group

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