LifeisXbox’s Crowns and Pawns: Kingdom of Deceit review | It’s time to discuss another fun point-and-click adventure game! For this review, I got to try out Crowns and Pawns: Kingdom of Deceit, a cute little game developed by Tag of Joy and published by Thunderful Publishing. In this game, you explore modern-day Europe to uncover the secrets of a king, learn about legends, and delve into the lesser-known history of Europe. Inspired by games such as Broken Sword, Monkey Island, Still Life, and Syberia, Crowns and Pawns was actually partly funded by Creative Europe MEDIA and the Lithuanian Council for Culture. So, let’s dive in, shall we?
ℹ️ Reviewed on PC | Review code provided by PR/publisher, this review is the personal opinion of the writer.
What we Liked!
- Milda’s charm | The main character in Crowns and Pawns: Kingdom of Deceit is Milda Kovas, a young girl from Chicago. Immediately from the start, she charms the player in a unique way. Maybe that’s because it becomes immediately clear that Milda is a gamer, but either way, she’s fun to play as. You get some insights into her life, and you can even choose some things, like what her profession is. Of course, the choices are limited but my Milda became a photographer, which is something I aspire to be in real life too so that’s really cool! Throughout the story, Milda remains a very likable character who meets other fun and interesting people, like her best friend Dana or her Lithuanian friend Joris.
- Fun puzzles | Crowns and Pawns is a point-and-click game through and through. By clicking right, you can inspect something, and by clicking left you interact with an object, person, or space. The gameplay is quite straightforward but the puzzles aren’t always as simple! You have to solve many mysteries and find all kinds of hidden items, which you then have to combine in your inventory. It takes quite a bit of trial and error but it was so much fun trying out different things! Traveling back and forth between different environments never felt like a hassle, and the conversations you have with NPCs were always refreshing. Keep in mind that there is a lot of reading involved in this game, partly because you learn a lot about history, but it’s definitely worth taking your time! What I also loved is that you have to dive into Milda’s wardrobe every now and then so she puts on an outfit that fits the occasion. An ‘easier’ puzzle but a fun one, nonetheless!
- Voice acting as it should be | I always admire it when an entire game has voice acting, so when I noticed that this was the case for Crowns and Pawns, I got even more excited. And what’s even better is that the voice acting here is impeccable! Really, it was such a joy to listen to the characters talk to each other, each having their own unique feel. On top of that, the music provided in this game was written by an award-winning composer named Daniel Pharos, known for music featured in A New Beginning, Memoria and Blackguards.
- Art style | Crowns and Pawns has a kick-ass art director (yes, the same was from Broken Sword 2.5) so expectations were high for the art style. And man were we treated to some beautiful graphics! You walk into a modern world filled with history. Gorgeous hand-painted places come to life in different countries (USA, Italy, Lithuania, …) and what’s cool about this is that the games used real-life locations from around Europe. Definitely worth feasting your eyes upon! The characters themselves also each had a unique look and feel, but the environments definitely won over character design!
- Enriching story | As I mentioned, this game follows the story of Milda. One day, she receives an inheritance from her grandfather. While this comes totally unexpected, she decides to travel to Europe, as her grandfather left her his house in Lithuania. When she arrives at the house, she is threatened by an unknown individual who wants her to hand over her inheritance. As this raises a lot of questions for Milda, she decides to look into the occurrence. Soon she discovers old documents and clues that date back to the 15th century. Before she realizes it, Milda finds herself in a quest for a long-lost relic, and so much more… I don’t know about you, but that sure sounds interesting to me. And let me tell you, throughout the game, the story only gets richer. There is so much history and story-building involved, it’s actually quite amazing.
- Animations | Even though the backgrounds and places you visit all look very beautiful and feel quite authentic, the animations weren’t that great, in my opinion. Not that this ruined the game in a big way, or that I expected everything to be perfect, but sometimes, this did bother me. For example, when Milda hands over something, it looks so very fake. Or when she grabs something, it also lacks a realistic touch. Another thing that stood out to me was that Milda doesn’t run. Or well, she does but not when you’re controlling her. At times, there was a sense of urgency created by the game, but dear Milda still refused to run. Instead, she used her slow walk as if nothing was going on. A bit weird, if you ask me.
- Sometimes too slow, but a rushed ending | Building on Milda walking slow, the story also felt a bit slow at times. There is a lot of information packed in this 6 to 8 hours game, and at times, it felt like the story was resolving a bit too slow for my taste. There’s some going back and forth, which was fine most of the time, but unfortunately, sometimes it got annoying. On top of that, the ending felt kind of rushed to me. I feel like too much happened in the last half hour to hour or so.
What we Disliked
- Lack of hints | If you’ve read reviews of me before, you know that I don’t shine at puzzle games. I often get stuck and have to rely on hints. If there are some. And Crowns and Pawns: Kingdom of Deceit doesn’t have any, much to my regret. There is some help if you don’t know what to do next, but solving the puzzles usually requires some logical thinking and experimenting. Not that the puzzling in this game is that difficult, but, as I said, I’m not very good at solving puzzles. Sucks when you actually like puzzle games, huh? Anyway, a possibility to get a hint would’ve been nice because now I had to rely on YouTube walkthroughs when I couldn’t figure things out myself.
How long to beat the story | 6 to 8 hours
How long to achieve 1000G | 15 hours
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Head of PC team. PC, Switch, and Xbox game reviewer. Also a marketeer, concert and animal lover, and photographer in training 🙂