“You accept your destiny. You can’t escape it anyway.”
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,
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
Four difficulty levels
Alt tab friendly
1 character whose behavior may
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
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
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
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
Sound card: Creative Labs Sound
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