If you were the king of a medieval town, would you shower everyone with gold and hold funfairs for the children? Or would you be tyrannical and greedy, evil and malicious, working your peasants to the bone and building statues in your likeness around the city?

That’s where Ceville, a portly and nefarious little emperor with a faultless moustache from Boxed Dreams’ latest adventure, enters the stage. Perched atop his extravagant throne, he flicks through court statements, condemning The Big Bad Wolf, and all the traumatised piggies, to slogging it out in the mine. His lofty throne compensates for his diminutive size and is more than a little intimidating. Pleading townspeople must yell to be heard, standing next to piles and piles of riches. “Complete Bastard” is probably the best description available.

So it stands to reason that his castle is ransacked by his populace, he’s taken into custody by his now former guards, and a full blown mutiny breaks out. Ceville does what just about every smart wannabe pirate, grizzly biker or California tourist would do; pick up everything, combine items and dig through dialog trees.

Ceville is a breath of fresh air in a genre typically composed of illogical head-scratchers and the calls of online walkthroughs; Boxed Dreams makes the adventure flow naturally, each puzzle teetering so cautiously between too easy and too tough. The game conspicuously drops hints, in both visual clues and curious dialogue options, to not only make your goals clear and concise, but reach that highly sought after ambition of making the player feel smarter than they really are.

By regularly confining your movement to a minute number of screens, and emptying your pockets of useless junk between chapters, Ceville successfully cans the allure of GameFAQs by thwarting the overwhelming prospects of too many locations, too many objects and the mind-melting notion of how many possible combinations that makes.

So it stands to reason that Ceville takes its cues from more modern Point and Click games; with a tap of a button, all the interactive hot-spots flash into view to avoid pixel hunts, for example. You can even tweak settings as far as alerting possible item connections, but there’s no dynamic hint system, the likes of which Telltale have championed in their episodic releases.

What makes Ceville stand out though, stand far taller than games like So Blonde and Vampyre Story, is that it’s hilarious. The titular king, obsessed with evil deeds, sniggers at the misfortune of others and goes out of his way to bully and steal. Fairytales and legends are turned upside down as the devil, a skeleton pirate and a black knight seek reform from a plump Fairy Godmother, who won’t grant your wishes until you’ve collected form 63-F.

All made the more amusing by fantastic voice work and a wacky style. Ceville exists in a deliciously cartoon world, with bold colours and not a straight line in sight; some citizens are stereotypes, others are punchlines. The wicked Ceville mercilessly trades banter and jokes with his kind and pure-hearted side-kick Lilly, in-between pop-culture references and parodies of the genre’s forefathers.







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