Crowns and Pawns: Kingdom of Deceit is a tough graphic adventure game in the spirit of the classics

Following the death of her grandfather, Crowns and Pawns‘ Milda is expected to embrace her newly discovered family secret and embark on a dangerous quest to uncover the story of ‘the king who was never crowned’.

There are dozens of types of games which fit into the wide church that makes up the Adventure genre. Even when talking about the Point and Click (neé graphic adventure) section of that genre we need to consider that games like Gobliiins or Pixel and Axel — where players don’t gain an inventory per se — versus games with inventories are starkly different. Then, of course, how do we separate the Lucasarts games from the Sierra games? If a game can kill you, does it get bunched up with the rest? How do we discuss this? Crowns and Pawns: Kingdom of Deceit follows the Syberia and Broken Sword school of adventure games.

And by that, I mean that it stacks your inventory full of items and manages to deliver a sense of urgency when most adventure games wouldn’t dare to lay on the pressure.

“The two comparisons that the visuals will inevitably summon up are that of Broken Sword and the works of Don Bluth, and there’s a good reason for both…” Read our review of the fantastic The Little Acre.

I played through a handful of scenes while at AdventureX late last year. I was served up pockets of help – and goodness me I needed it. There was a point where I manipulated a dozen things to gather five items in order to use them on another item which I had used a bunch of items in order to activate. That sequence led to a puzzle where I heated those items, some of those items then formed a puzzle which would help me in the next section. That might sound exhausting to read or even exhausting to do… but the feeling of success that comes from these multi-layered, complex puzzles is exhilarating. There are very few games which can make you go from feeling like an idiot to a genius in a few moments, but the team behind Crowns and Pawns have completely finessed that quality and they’ve done it with a pleasing visual style. I just hope that they put a hint feature in.

Crowns and Pawns

I can’t talk too much about the greater story, because the scenes which were playable were only a tiny snippet of the game, but if they can keep the balance of puzzles vs action that the demo and trailer offer then Crowns and Pawns will easily be one of the most important adventure games to release in the coming years. And that’s a tough title to take considering the fantastic renaissance the genre is going through at the moment.

Crowns and Pawns: Kingdom of Deceit is in development for Windows PC and Mac, it is expected to release later this year.

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