ORDER OF THE THORNE: THE KING'S CHALLENGE
OS: Vista / 7 / 8 / 10
Processor: 900 Mhz
Memory: 256 MB RAM
Graphics: Direct X
Compatible Graphics Card
DirectX: Version 9.0c
Hard Drive: 1GB
Sound Card: Direct X
Compatible Sound Card
OS: OS X 10.7.0 or
Processor: Intel Core
2 Duo 2GHz+
Memory: 1 GB RAM
Hard Drive: 2.25 GB
Graphics: nVidia 8xxx
Series or AMD 3xxx or 4xxx Intel HD 3xxx Series GPU
Secondary Mouse Click should be enabled
OS: Ubuntu 14.04, Mint
Processor: 1.8 GHz
Memory: 1 GB RAM
GPUs after 2008
Storage: 900 MB
Sound Card: ALSA or
The King of the Fairy Land known as the Realm of Uir established a
challenge to all heroes of the land. The queen is hiding somewhere in
the realm. The king will grant to the champion who finds her, his
fondest wish. You play as Finn the Bard, a fairy, like the other six
challengers, and set out to find the queen. Some of your competitors,
such as the two female fairies Snowy and Red, are helpful. Others not so
much. You will encounter trolls, problem pixies, talking turtles, and
many other strange characters.
You no sooner descend the hill from town, when you are attacked by a
pixie who steals your father’s songbook. No spoiler here because you
cannot avoid this. What is a minstrel to do? How can he play songs if he
does not know any? How to get the book back may be your first quest or
puzzle. Then there is the troll. Obviously he’s guarding the bridge.
There are other problems like the cranky gnome. Many times I tried to
pick up some items that I could not. It turns out it pays to listen to
other characters. They tell you things you need to know. All at once you
can suddenly pick up that object.
If you enjoyed Kings Quest 4-5-6, you will feel right at home with
Finn the bard as he walks through screen after screen resembling
Daventry. The stroll in the Land of Uir is far more pleasant than
Daventry because you never face sudden death and have no fear of dead
ends. The same format is used, showing close up boxes of the person
speaking. Just as with many older adventure games, you help others, and
in return they give you what you need, or tell you what to do next. All
you know is that the queen is hiding while you and six others are
searching for her.
Puzzles are primarily inventory based, a very few requiring a
blending of items to create a new object. There are no quick reflex or
timed puzzles, and no dead ends.
It is the story of Finn the bard, son of a famous minstrel who was
known and loved throughout the land. Finn accepted the king's challenge
to gain fame and learn new songs to play. Our hero must outwit a
devilish pixie, get by a dangerous troll, negotiate a deadly swamp, and
deal with a cranky gnome among other perils. Once you find that swamp,
it’s not easy to get past the gatekeepers. There are several challenging
roadblocks before you encounter the Seer. Here you are faced with
another logic puzzle requiring you to blend the proper formulas. Think
April Ryan and her potion-making inside Klacks's floating castle. Again
there are no fatal errors other than try again.
After viewing the intro, a popup asks “Would you like to read
the tutorial?” It does help to explain some aspects of the game. Then
you, as Finn, are sent upon your quest to find the queen. Finn is the
only character you will play during your adventure in the Fairy Realm.
The game controls are quite simple, and I've included a screenshot
of the control panel. Upon launch, you see a screen offering
Introduction, New Game, and Continue. "Continue" is your selection to
reload a save. Select "Continue" and a screen pops up, revealing game
controls and save options.
During gameplay the controls are activated by use of either the ESC
key, or by clicking an icon in the upper right of the screen. We will
start there. In the control panel you can adjust volume for Music,
Effects, and Speech. Under Audio Options at the bottom are three
buttons. A button showing Voice & Speech can be toggled to allow Voice
Only, Text Only, or the use of both. Dialogue Skip can be toggled to
Dialogue Wait. According to the manual, Dialogue Skip sets whether the
game moves the dialogue forward after the spoken word , while Dialogue
Waits will wait for the player to press a button. I left that feature on
default and forgot about it. The third button, Narrator on or off, is
self evident. The three middle buttons, Restart, Quit and Achievement,
offer yet more adjustments. The first two are rather obvious, while the
third will reveal achievements you have reached up to this point in
gameplay. There are 13 achievements in all, which I ignored.
On the top row are Save, Restore, and Delete. You type in the name
you wish to give your save in the upper box, then click on the Save
button. Clicking Restore will open the save point. Delete refers to the
highlighted save. On the lower right is a play button, should you choose
simply to return to where you are in the game.
Please note, on the right side of your inventory you will see Finn’s
Lute. Clicking on the lute produces a voice-over explaining its
operation. It is part of the puzzle matrix. Music puzzles you say, “Oh
no, not that!” Relax it’s not hard. There are two options, Lute Easy and
Lute Hard. If you choose "Lute Easy" when Finn must play a tune as part
of a puzzle, you simply choose the correct song and he will play it. The
player’s participation is only to pick the right song. You can learn
songs from other players and NPCs if you pay attention to conversations.
The songs you've learned are shown inside a box when you click on the
If you chose "Lute Hard" when clicking on a song, Finn begins to
play inside the lute screen. A series of notes are shown. You must then
click on each note in that series in order for Finn to play them in
response to the puzzle. It's not really a music puzzle so much as a
memory puzzle. Essentially Lute Easy is similar to a puzzle skip, though
you are still required to pick the correct song to complete the puzzle.
Primarily puzzles are the typical pick everything up and use them
from inventory at the appropriate place. I hate to tell you how long it
took me to find a bamboo stick I didn’t know I’d need. Then there is the
nagging fear after spending my only gold coin. How do I get it back?
Finn had to spend it, to solve a puzzle. The coin was given to him by
the king. It is Finn’s ticket to enter the palace. Even if our bard
finds the queen, the guards won’t let him in to claim the prize without
the coin in his pocket. Not to mention father’s stolen music book, which
we had forgotten about at this point. These questions and many others
challenge the player while searching for the queen.
This game is fully third person point-and-click, with no way to die.
Sweeping the top of the screen with your mouse reveals your inventory.
Left clicking will allow you to skip speech, however advancing in the
quest requires you learn what do by speaking to other characters. As
expected, a right mouse click allows you to examine items, and a left,
to interact or pick up said items. Sweeping the mouse over the screen
will identify items you can interact with.
Saves are found at /Users/User Name/Saved Games/Order of the
The Adventure Game Studio Engine signals it is a pixelated world,
but it appears surprisingly well rendered. Voice acting is quite good,
with several people listed as speakers in the game credits. Music is
well done and a separate soundtrack file is available. The game ran
quite well in my Humble Bundle DRM-free version.
I will caution gamers that I played the Humble Bundle DRM-free
version. It installed and played flawlessly on my Windows 7 64bit
system. With that said, this review focuses on the gameplay resulting
from that installation. I found issues related to the GOG version. I
suggest reading the GOG forums, as many people were having installation
issues with that version of the game. GOG integrated something relating
to Galaxy into their version of the Order of the Thorne executable --
something to do with Achievements. I did not download the game from GOG
through Galaxy, and do not have Galaxy installed. But because of what
GOG added to the game executable, when launching the game, my firewall
requested permission to allow a connection to the Internet. Refusing the
connection caused the game to shut down.
GOG support informed me the game is not connecting to the internet.
Here is GOG’s response: “The recommended
solution here (if you are using Galaxy) would be to allow game to
communicate with Galaxy in your firewall and add both game and Galaxy to
firewall exceptions list. If you do not use Galaxy, simply add only the
game to firewall exceptions list. The game will still launch without
internet access, it just needs not to have communication blocked
As you cannot shut off Achievements, which Galaxy is used
to monitor, I asked Infamous Quests to comment. Their reply stated:
“Yes, that's strange - the game doesn't require
an internet connection. The game is compatible with GoG Galaxy's
achievements, but no connection is required at all. I don't know if it
is something specific to the GOG version, but it should not be. If you
would like to try a DRM-free download from Humble Bundle, here is a code
The Humble version of the game is the one I played and the one I'm
reviewing. Unlike the GOG version, the Humble version did not require me
to add any sort of exception to my firewall. Perhaps this information
will be of use to those who are considering which version of the game to
purchase, or to those who already have the GOG version and are having
issues starting it.
There is no way to shut off achievements, nor should you
have to. You earn an achievement award upon accomplishing various tasks.
In the game there are thirteen in all. When earning one, an almost
silent bell sounds in the background and does not interfere with the
game. I barely noticed the event and was surprised to find all thirteen
when checking the folder in Options.
This game was released about a week ago, so I approached it with
caution, aware there would be no walkthrough waiting to aid a perplexed
adventurer. I read on a GOG forum a comment stating this is a short
game. I stepped into the Fairy World expecting quick and easy. That did
not happen, as I found myself in a well-rendered world with plenty of
items to explore. There were more gameplay screens than I expected, and
each one was worth examination. I’ll bet you can race through after a
walkthrough is published, and then complain it is a short game. Take
your time in this third person world while wandering and experiencing
what is there.
There are many screens to explore and logic puzzles to solve. I took
my time and relived a quest from the past with odd creatures with
strange names. It brought back fond memories of King Graham and his
adventures. For fans of those quest of old, this game is a must. Check
out the screenshots to get an idea of the various “rooms” in the game
that you get to explore.
Although XP is not listed as a supported operating system, the
Humble version of the game did start and played correctly on one older
computer with XP. However it was only tested briefly, and it's unknown
whether there are problems that could arise later in the game.
Order of the Thorne is perhaps the most enjoyable game I’ve played
in a long time. My review grade is based on the DRM-free Humble Bundle
version -- the game as designed, without Galaxy integration.
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