Genre:   Adventure  

Developer & Publisher:   Orrery Games             

Released:  February 2017              

Requirements (recommended):

  • OS: Windows 7, 8, 8.1, or 10
  • Processor: Duo Core @ 2Ghz Equivalent or Greater
  • Memory: 2 GB RAM
  • Graphics: Dedicated Video Card with at least 512MB VRAM & openGL 2.0 support
  • Sound Card: openAL compatible sound card
  • Visual Studio 2012 - 32 Bit Runtime Required



By flotsam


Midnight at the Celestial Palace: Chapter 1

Orrery Games/blipHAUS

We start with a story being told, a story about a magical dreamworld with fantastical beasts and dastardly villains. And Gregory, an approaching forty year old man who has a problem with paying bills, holding a job and personal hygiene. Determined not to make a mark, he has, says the narrator, abandoned the burden of ambition.

We first meet Gregory lounging on his couch, garbed in shorts and a greenish dressing gown. Old pizza boxes and other unsavoury objects litter the room, and Gregory’s only desire is to find something to eat before going to bed. His desire is your desire, so hop to it.

A short while (and a tutorial) later, you should have him fed and snoring on the couch. Then things get interesting.

Enter Sir Squiggles, through the window as a falling twinkle of star light. He is a Knight of the Court of Princess Exaltia, the ruler of Dreamania, and he is in search of a champion. He is also an otter in a lavender hat. Rather than a champion, he finds the wrong end of a lusty forehand with a tennis racquet, but insists that Gregory is his man. Gregory disagrees.

And so Sir Squiggles bursts into song. By the end, Gregory is singing along and stepping through the twilight portal, bound for the land of Dreamania, to vanquish (or at least check out) the “rising great evil”.

And so it begins in earnest. I did think the whole sequence involving the song was a little lengthy given the game had only just started and during the sequence you just watched and weren’t actively involved (although you did get to choose how the song progressed), but once in Dreamania, things open up considerably.

Sir Squiggles wants to get you to the palace asap, the only problem being a giant chasm that has appeared and which prevents you getting near. Another way must be found, and every location in that part of the game is available to you. A house you can visit will have no one home until a certain piece of information has been revealed, and some items won’t be of use or interest until you know something about them and have a reason to take them, but there is nowhere you can’t go. Sebastian the horse filling in the chasm with a bucket and spade, the nefariously difficult putt-putt golf course, the bugs waging aerial warfare over a cake, the less than helpful museum attendant and all her exhibits, and the Merman Coffee tavern with the tragically awful minstrel and the coffee addicted and uninspired pirates; all are available to interact with.

Which you must do. Conversations are important – they lead to information which will open up more conversation topics, allow you to access items and trigger ways to move forward.

I liked this part a lot. Progression was iterative, things building as you explored. You weren’t confined to one or two locations, which meant if you got a little stuck you just went somewhere else to see what you might find. Getting stuck was rare though – the game isn’t painting by numbers but nor is it hard, especially if you utilise the try this inventory item there just to see approach. To be fair, I almost inevitably had a reason to do what I tried, and Sir Squiggles can be very helpful if questioned. So too can looking at items (right click) elicit useful information.

There is a single out and out puzzle, and it is worth mentioning. It was simplistically bewildering, until the simplicity hit. Kudos to the designer.

I was less enamoured of the songs (there are four not counting the very first maudlin minstrel dirge), but when have you encountered a singing adventure? And while I am not a musical lover, we all thought the singing Buffy episode was awesome (the less said about Cop Rock the better), so kudos again for doing something a bit different.

And the ode to coffee did shiver my timbers a tad.

When you eventually get across the chasm, the game closes down a bit, with limited locations available at any one time. You do get to play Sir Squiggles though, which compensates somewhat.

There is a gawky, goofy look and feel to things that keeps things on a slightly odd-ball plane. Voices can be a little silly, but so too can horses riding bikes, flautist cats and otters in hats. It is a fairy story of sorts after all, and weird and silly things are bound to be involved.

There is background music as well as the songs, which helps set an appropriate mood. Sound effects and a muted colour palette round things out.

I didn’t laugh out loud, but it can by smirksome at times. Plus how you relate to the characters may increase your mirth levels. I did have fun.

The inventory slides out right of screen, and you can examine and combine items in there. Right click to look at things in the game world, left to interact. The cursor will generate a label of anything you can interact with when hovered over said item. Some things can have more than one hotspot, so explore carefully, but pixel hunting is not a factor (there is some close separation between one or two hotspots though).

You don’t die, you can save at will, and you can replay any song from the menu once you have heard it the first time. Locations can slide left and right, and sometimes other directions as you move around, but many are limited to what you see on screen. Exits are indicated by a double arrow icon, and double clicking will jump you there. Loads between screens are virtually non-existent. There are some cut scenes, There are some interestingly framed screens which limit the perspective, otherwise it plays full screen.

Midnight at the Celestial Palace is left with the narrator saying that what is to come is the place of other stories, so you won’t get resolution. Gregory and Sir Squiggles certainly have more to do in Dreamania. It proved about 4 hours of enjoyment, and I will come back.

I played on:

OS: Windows 10, 64 Bit

Processor: Intel i7-6700 4GHz


Video card: AMD Radeon RX 470 8192MB


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February 2017

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