This page serves as a reference portal for all information and pages pertaining to the technical interface and general gameplay seen in the Dark Parables franchise.
Loading Screen & Main Menu Edit
Each game begins with a Loading Screen as the game loads. This usually depicts the main NPC character for that particular game. Once the game is loaded, the Player is told to "Click to Continue" - which brings the Main Menu to the screen. This usually depicts the main location for the game and sometimes another image of the main character. These screens are shown on the respective game pages, in each game's Gallery.
Game Options Edit
Each Dark Parables game has an Options menu, where the player can change the music/sound volume and toggle Full Screen Mode on and off. Some games also include additional settings that can be changed, such as Difficulty Level, Custom Cursors, Widescreen Mode, and other alterable settings.
Difficulty Levels Edit
In Curse of Briar Rose and The Exiled Prince, the game can only be completed in a standard difficulty mode - but a Hard Mode unlocks (along with a special inventory item) upon successful completion of the game.
From Rise of the Snow Queen on, the games allow a player to choose their Difficulty Level before the game begins. The player can also change this setting within the game through the Options Menu.
- Casual - Hint Button recharges quickly, Sparkles illuminate all areas of interest, Skip Button initiates quickly.
- Normal - Hint Button recharges slower, Sparkles occasionally illuminate things, Skip Button is slower.
- Hard - No Hint Button available, No Sparkles to illuminate areas of interest, No option to Skip puzzles.
Each of these Difficulty Levels has a locket-like framed image of a character from that specific game beside it.
The Little Mermaid and the Purple Tide introduced an additional difficulty setting called "Custom" where the player can toggle different settings on and off to make the game either more or less difficult.
Each game begins with a video introduction to the world we'll be exploring in that game. Immediately after this, the player (as the Fairytale Detective) is given a Briefing explaining what the investigation is going to cover and what the primary goals of the game are. These briefings can be found in full on the pages for each of the main games.
Tutorial EditEach game includes a Tutorial that teaches the player how to play the game. It is during this tutorial that new players learn the overall mechanics of the game. Old players who are well-versed in the Dark Parables gameplay can usually skip this Tutorial without any ill effects on overall game progress. These Tutorials usually cover:
- Viewing Items
- Picking Up Items
- Playing a Hidden Object Scene
- Using Items
- Solving Puzzles
As such, none of these basic gameplay instructions will be covered on this Wiki.
Each game begins with a pop-up asking the player if they wish to play through the Tutorial. In all of the games released by Blue Tea Games, these pop-ups are illustrated with a charm-like image beside the text, generally depicting something relating to the game itself. These Tutorial Charms were dropped when Eipix picked up the series.
The Fairytale Detective's notes, parables, maps and other information is all collected in what's referred to as the Fairytale Detective's Journal. The first two games in the Dark Parables series also collected information about the Fairytale Detective's investigation in the journal:
This kind of journal-keeping only lasted for these two games. From Rise of the Snow Queen on, the Detective's Journal no longer keeps a running commentary on the gameplay itself, but instead began to store parables.
Hint Button Edit
Most Adventure / Hidden Object games include a Hint Button to assist the player when they don't know where to go next and Dark Parables is, of course, no different. Where the series shines is in the beautiful graphics and symbolism used to display this part of the interface. The first few Hint Buttons were rather plain, but they have gotten more and more detailed as the series has progressed.
Maps were not a part of the first game, Curse of Briar Rose, but each game since has featured maps to help the player navigate the Dark Parables world. These maps can be accessed from a large button on the opposite side of the screen from the Hint Button. Map Buttons and the Maps themselves can be seen on the Maps page. Starting with The Little Mermaid and the Purple Tide, players can travel to any location on the map simply by clicking on it (Cursery: The Crooked Man and the Crooked Cat also had this feature).
Interactive Inventory Items Edit
Introduced when Eipix began developing the series, Interactive Inventory Items began appearing in The Little Mermaid and the Purple Tide and have been seen in all games since. When the player clicks on one of these inventory items (which are designated by a glowing border around the item in the inventory panel), the item expands to fill the screen and the player is able to interact with the item somehow. This can be as simple as opening a closed box or as complex as putting together an artifact. Once the required interactions have been fully completed, the item reverts back to a regular item and is placed in the Inventory. Interactive Inventory Items cannot be used in scenes or puzzles until they have been interacted with properly and turned into a regular inventory item.
Character Dialogue Edit
Many different characters exchange words with the Fairytale Detective throughout the course of the Dark Parables games. Voice-overs can be heard in all of the games, along with subtitles for those who prefer to play the game without sound. In early games, the subtitles were simply done as white text on a black bar, the same presentation as other game text. Eventually, this was changed to speech bubbles appearing next to the character who was speaking. When Eipix took over the Dark Parables series, they incorporated a dialogue interface with animation, subtitles and buttons to continue or skip the dialogue entirely. The Little Mermaid and the Purple Tide featured a small animated icon of the character who was speaking, while Queen of Sands had a full animated close-up of the character being spoken to.
Hidden Object ScenesEdit
These scenes are the "meat and potatoes" of Dark Parables gameplay. Classified as Hidden Object Adventure Games, Dark Parables games are made up primarily of Hidden Object type puzzles. The Hidden Object scenes in Dark Parables are called Fragmented Hidden Objects, where instead of looking for a list of whole items, the player instead looks for parts of a single item that is assembled and added to the player's inventory after the parts have been found. This kind of Fragmented Hidden Object gameplay is sometimes referred to with the acronym FROG.
Dark Parables games also include a lot of non-Hidden Object puzzles. These are usually logic puzzles of one kind or another. Each game has its own kind of "signature" puzzle(s) - a specific form of logic puzzle that is seen repeatedly throughout the game. There are also "custom" puzzles, where the player must click on several interactive objects and determine how these objects are intended to be used or combined together.
Beginning in Rise of the Snow Queen, each Dark Parables game contains "charms" the player can find in order to complete fairy tale stories, called Parables, pertaining to the events and characters in the game being played. Parables make up a large part of Dark Parables lore, and as such they have their own page. Parable Pieces also have their own page, where the pieces are pictured and their locations documented.
Each game contains objects that "morph" or change while the player is looking at them. Clicking on these objects helps the player's hint button recharge faster and, more importantly, adds to the fun of the game! These objects have their own page that documents the objects themselves and where they can be found. Cursed Objects underwent a change when the Dark Parables series moved to Eipix Games, likely because the "Cursed/Morphing Objects" mechanic was a Blue Tea Games staple. Starting in The Little Mermaid and the Purple Tide, it is the Parable Pieces that do the morphing and not a separate collection of "Cursed" items.
First seen in Ballad of Rapunzel, Achievements are a list of goals for the player to attempt to reach. There is usually no actual reward for completing them, but trying to attain as many as possible adds another layer to the overall gameplay.
Collections have popped up in various Dark Parables games throughout the franchise, in one form or another. Due to the wide variety of items collected and the varied effects they have on gameplay, these Collections are all collected on their own page.
Big Fish Games provides a Strategy Guide for each game. This can be purchased separately, but is also included with the Collector's Edition of each of the games. You can also view these walkthroughs on Big Fish Games' blog.
The Collector's Edition of each of the games comes with Bonus Content for that game. This includes a Bonus Game that further explores some aspect of the main game, as well as wallpapers, music, concept art, and other materials pertaining to the game.
Eipix Entertainment introduced this new bonus game to the series when they took over from Blue Tea Games. It unlocks only after both the main game and the bonus game have been completed. Once unlocked, the player is tasked with visiting several locations from the game in order to locate and collect a "souvenir" from each one of them. These souvenirs are collected and displayed in the bonus menu. In The Little Mermaid and the Purple Tide, this collection was labeled "Souvenir Chest". In Queen of Sands, it was a "Souvenir Room".
Other Gameplay Aspects Edit
Some gameplay mechanics proved unpopular, or were only included in one game for other reasons.
- Novels: Curse of Briar Rose included two "novels" with the game. One was Perrault's version of the original tale of Sleeping Beauty, while the other was a story version of the events of the Curse of Briar Rose game.
- "Inspect" Button: This button was only seen in Curse of Briar Rose. When pressed, it would present the player with thumbnails of locations that needed to be inspected. At times, it would show an objective that needed to be completed. This interface was mostly confusing, and the Objective aspect was combined with the Maps function in the next game, The Exiled Prince.
- Interactive Hidden Object Scenes: Jack and the Sky Kingdom introduced interactive HO scenes, where a player could click on objects within the scene to open or move them in order to reveal more items. This gameplay mechanic was dropped for the next game, Ballad of Rapunzel, but was also seen in the spin-off game, Fabled Legends: The Dark Piper.
- Golden Child's Touch: This gameplay mechanic was seen only in the bonus game, The Thumbelina Curse. The player takes on the role of Gerda, the Golden Child, who is able to dispel magic with a simple touch of her hand. As such, the cursor turns into a gloved hand with sparkles coming off of it whenever magical spells are encountered that Gerda is capable of using her magical touch to remove.
- Interactive Wooden Board: Queen of Sands used a unique kind of gameplay mechanic by using an interactive board that the player carries with them through most of the game. This board first requires the player to locate and insert certain emblems into it, then locate a special place in the game world where the board can be "hung" in order to further the player's progress. Once placed in this spot, the board opens to reveal puzzles that, when solved, reveal further information about the game's lore. Once the board's mysteries have been fully revealed, the player picks the board back up and begins the process again.
- Grail Items: The spin-off game, Fabled Legends: The Dark Piper introduced "Grail Items" - Items that were collected by the player, then made useable via buttons on the lower right side of the interface (where the "Map" button generally is).
- Traditional Hidden Objects: In Fabled Legends: The Dark Piper, the Hidden Object Scenes are done in the more traditional way of the player locating things from a list of common items. This is the only Dark Parables game to use this style of HOP.