Playing games based on an established IP is always a risky endeavor. More often than not franchise titles walk a fine line between appealing to their fan base and being a simple cash grab. Unfortunately, Gameblend Studios’ The Princess Bride sits squarely in the latter category.
Based off a beloved comedy classic of late 1980s, it is slightly bizarre that a new game for The Princess Bride would be coming out in 2015. Gameblend may be banking on nostalgia kicking in for fans of the film. At a fairly steep $4, they’re definitely hoping for some strong nostalgia.
The Princess Bride is comprised of four mini-games with promises for future updates. All the games feature unique challenges that employ the time-honored mobile game convention of granting players stars. Here players can use them to unlock The Princess Bride’s other games as well as to unlock images and sound clips from the original film. For how unusually difficult and unforgiving the games are, these are meager rewards.
Fairer Than Death
The first game has the player tapping the screen to prevent eels from getting to the swimming Buttercup. Eels come in from all directions, sometimes in various patterns and other times haphazardly. There are also boss eels and ones that have coins, however, the premise remains the same. Tap the eels to kill them. It’s amusing the first few times, but without a properly structured difficulty curve and reward system, the monotonous design and simple sound effects become tiresome very quickly.
The second mini-game is an endless climber, wherein the player tilt their device to avoid rocks, seagulls and ledges. Five seconds in or five minutes in, the landscape doesn’t change and the game’s only response is throwing more seagulls at the player. There’s measure of irony in the game’s utter lack of inspiration, considering that it’s based off a film that succeeded due to an abundance of humor, charm and style.
The last two games may be the most frustrating even if they are the most fun. One is a Fruit Ninja knockoff and the other resembles Infinity Blade, having the player dodge attacks with swipes. They’re not any more complex or better detailed than the first two games, but since they work off the catchy mechanics of more successful games, both come with a built-in fun factor. However, this can only last for so long. The lack of variety and incentive unfortunately compound with their frustrating difficulty.
Charming and Yet Not
For what it’s worth, Gameblend’s animated design has its charms. The hard-drawn characters and sets, reminiscent of Dragon’s Lair, gives the game a nostalgic and charming aesthetic. Unfortunately, looks can only get a game so far. When the games start, the static backgrounds and repeated soundbites get old quickly.
The four mini-games in this set offer little creativity or entertainment for the player beyond the first five minutes, a far cry from the superb IP they’re based on. Even the most dedicated fans of the film should probably steer clear.
Unless you are a Princess Bride fanatic, there’s little this game offers that others haven’t already done much better.