“Our words have powerful
With its release of The Legend of
Crystal Valley, (hereafter referred to as Legend) Cateia Games
has delivered to gamers an opportunity for gentle exploration, quiet
questing, and peaceful puzzle solving from a third-person perspective. Our
heroine, Eve, embarks on a journey of discovery which evolves and
stretches her perceptions and beliefs of reality, morality, and personal
“Destiny is a sharp blade. You can evade it, postpone it,
but it always comes.” She-Vatram
As do the vast majority of adventure
games, this one begins with an enigma. We see a shadowy candlelit room. A
man stares intently at a photograph inscribed “To Daddy.” Writing
hurriedly, he hands the paper to a somewhat oddly shaped servant.
Lonely music accompanies echoing
footsteps as this same man approaches a hexagonal metallic door. Silently
it opens. He unhurriedly enters.
The scene shifts to a rain-soaked
graveyard. A young woman, red hair standing out in the gloom, kneels
beside an imposing tombstone as a quiet voice reads aloud the words from a
cryptic letter. These words will shake the foundations of her life,
changing it forever.
A bus stops and then quickly rolls on,
its course unchanged. But not so for Eve. She stands alone in the yard of
her family farm. Her choices will change her fate
Who is this man? More importantly,
where is this man? Why does this woman linger by a tomb? Should she answer
the call of the letter? Can she follow the cryptic trail?
“I became an unnecessary element of control.” Giant Burek
well-designed, flexible, customizable, intuitive interface (including
separate adjustments for speech, sound effects, ambient sounds, and
footsteps) makes it easy for us to try. Many functions can be accessed in
a variety of ways, allowing the gamer to play according to her own
preferences. For instance, you can access the scrolling inventory panel
(which includes buttons for the Diary and Magic Spells as well Save, Load,
and Main Menu) by right clicking, or through the tab on the upper right of
the screen, or by a keyboard shortcut.
entirely mouse controlled. You can save at will and name your own saves.
In addition, the game auto-saves on exit and seems to have no limit to the
number of saves possible.
Cursor changes (magnifying glass, eye,
hand) indicate which actions are possible. Eve can be hurried on her way
with the space bar—an animation I always found amusing. A very helpful
tutorial is included at the game’s beginning, but if you so choose, it can
“I shall be your guide around here.” Alfred the Butler
a game replete with non-player characters (NPCs). Eve interacts with a
diverse cast including Elvis, a Romeo wannabe, giants, aliens, witches,
robots, dwarves, and dragons. Most appear a bit blocky. Pointy noses and
chins abound, giving them a “fairy tale” look, which suits the game well.
Though their movements are bit mechanical, this did not detract from the
In addition, they are a chatty bunch.
Except for the introduction and tutorial, all dialogue is via captions. I
expected the lack of voice acting to bother me, but found I actually liked
it in this game.
While the dialogue is often
entertaining, it can be skipped and is automatically entered into Eve’s
diary. References too numerous to count to games, popular icons, classical
figures, fantasy movies -- both visual and spoken -- flourish. Part of the
fun factor is trying to identify them all.
“I’m not sure we ever had any use for these chickens.” Eve
The majority of NPCs need a favor or
two from Eve. In return, they will provide items or information necessary
to her search. Quite a few of the favors are of the fetch quest variety,
though a few logic puzzles are included.
There is one sound puzzle which also
provides color cues. In addition, the necessary tones can be repeated at
I found Legend’s challenges to
fall in the easy-to-medium difficulty range, fitting well with the
laid-back feel of the game.
There are no mazes, mini-games,
sliders or timed sequences. However, I do have a quibble with the
implementation of one puzzle.
For this particular puzzle, water is
required for the solution. Though I had water in my inventory, this water
was not acceptable to the game. At first, I thought I had encountered a
glitch. I backed up to a save, and then another. I restarted my computer.
But ultimately, it turned out that I needed water from different source.
Unless I missed it, there was no explanation as to why that specific water
was needed. In a game in which the lion’s share of the puzzles are
logical, this illogical one stood out.
“So you decided to make a home in his skeleton?” Eve
graphics are a mixed bag. Sun-dappled trails lead to quaint villages
decorated with huge skulls and lots of medieval-looking statues, which
contrast sharply with the slick metallic buildings featuring advanced
technology. Angular-faced fairy tale creatures exist alongside characters
of a more fragile appearance. Grass movement is a bit stiff, while leaves
fluttering on trees were fluid. I was particularly impressed by the
shadows and the undulating water, but at times the camera angles drove me
Though the winsome graphics are not
technically dazzling, they provide a fitting setting for an intriguing
story. Small animations within some screens further draw your eye, and the
numerous cut-scenes are well designed and implemented.
All this exploring, interacting, and
puzzle solving is accomplished while surrounded by beautifully soothing
music and appropriate ambient sounds.
“Trespassers will be shot.
Survivors will be shot again.” Sign
was stable on my machine. I experienced no glitches or crashes.
“A promise is a promise.” Giant Burek
Legend of Crystal Valley
is a charming game of beginnings and endings, of love and loss, creation
and destruction, past and future, and possible vs. impossible. It allows
the gamer to meander through a lovely setting accompanied by mellow music
while uncovering a beguiling tale all the while solving puzzles which are
both fun and fair. I particularly appreciated the varied control schemes
Overall, this game was an entertaining
experience. I think it would be a fantastic way to introduce someone to
the world of adventure gaming, and yet it will also provide a restful
experience to the veteran gamer.
I bought the game from Big Fish Games, but it is also
available at other download portals.
Third person perspective
Mouse controlled, using both right and left mouse buttons
Mostly inventory puzzles (fetch quests)
A few easy to medium difficulty logic puzzles
One sound puzzle with visual clues provided
No timed sequences
Save at will
Name your own saves
Auto-saves on exit
Diary records all dialogue
Appropriate and relaxing background music and ambient
No voice acting beyond the introductory tutorial
Twisting self-contained story (though there is room for a
Numerous Easter egg type references
Lots of NPC interaction which can be quickly clicked
I played 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