The Final Cinderella is the fifth installment in the Dark Parables franchise. The game takes place in the Matese Mountains of Southern Italy. As the Fairytale Detective, we must investigate reports of a series of disappearances spanning decades.
Welcome to the Matese Mountains, Detective. Last night at midnight, three girls turned into glass while attending a ball at a mysterious mansion. Similar incidents have happened in the past in other parts of the world. Our research indicates that this might be the work of Godmother - a mysterious, powerful witch who is said to be over a thousand years old. Rumors say that she has spent decades searching for "Cinderella", the legendary pure-hearted maiden. Once Godmother captures Cinderella, we fear that she will use her newfound powers to wreak havoc upon our world. Your mission is to uncover Godmother's plot, find Cinderella, and protect her from Godmother. Good luck, Detective!
WARNING: This section contains massive spoilers! (So read at your own risk!)
The game opens on a mirror, which a woman, clad in black, steps out of. The woman approaches a balcony and overlooks it, seeing a group of people dancing below. The woman is looking through a book of images and points at one of the photos, stating that she is going to find the "Final Cinderella" tonight. The clock strikes midnight and the girl in the picture, named Cyrilla, begins to turn into glass right in front of the horrified onlookers. The woman on the balcony angrily declares that this girl is not the one, though she senses Cinderella nearby. She promises her love, a puppet-like man we only see a glimpse of in the woman's crystal ball, that she will revive him as soon as she is successful in capturing Cinderella.
12 hours later, the Fairytale Detective is dispatched to the Hilltop Mansion and given a briefing (see above). We enter the castle grounds and begin our investigation. Right off the bat, we start seeing shadowy figures and feel like we're being watched. We find the first Glass Maiden, who falls off of a cliff. The second one we see is grabbed by an enormous Wooden Beast. The third one we encounter is Cyrilla, from the opening movie.
Further in the mansion, we find the ballroom. Inside of it, a young woman named Katherine is investigating a mirror. She tells us that an old woman gave Cyrilla the dress that turned her to glass and she saw that same old woman enter the mirror just before we came in. She gives us some items she'd found in her own searching and asks us to help her figure out the mirror portal. However, as soon as we touch the mirror, vines shoot out from it and cover the mansion.
Given a little time, we figure out how to work the portal's mechanism. We affix the proper medallions onto the mirror's frame. A wicked woman, the Godmother we've been seeing glimpses of all over the mansion, surges out of the mirror and grabs Katherine. She's able to throw her purse to us as she's taken, telling us that everything she was able to find is inside of it. Once Katherine is through the mirror, a blast of black mist blows us out of the ballroom and all the way back to the mansion's foyer. The smoke is so thick, we can scarcely breathe and have no choice but to abandon the mansion for now.
Outside of the mansion, we find the Wooden Beast wandering the grounds, looking for something. Is it us? Or someone else? We catch up to him and find him bullying a small boy. We distract the Beast, then set him on fire and cause him to run off. The boy we've rescued turns out to be Pinocchio. He tells us he'll help us rescue Katherine from the Mirror World and he knows how to get there through a mirror in the ruins nearby.
With Pinocchio's guidance, we open the portal and travel to the Mirror World. As soon as we arrive, Pinocchio gets spooked by something and runs off. We follow him, only to find Katherine trapped inside a tree. She gets a bit pushy in her haste to be free of the tree, but we free her nonetheless. But she talked, sounded and acted weird, not like the Katherine we knew at the beginning. She tells us she saw some Glass Maidens in the Glass Wasteland and we should go rescue them.
Once in the Glass Wasteland, Katherine tells us that we need to bring her a pair of Glass Slippers to save the girls. We have one on hand, but she sharply tells us that she can't do anything with one; we need to bring her a pair. We look around and find the second shoe in a jeweled pumpkin. Now holding a pair of Glass Slippers, we deliver them to Katherine.
Immediately, the girl's face contorts into a sinister smile and she mockingly congratulates us on helping her. Before our eyes, Katherine turns into a puppet. She tells us it's time for us to take a nap and uncorks a bottle of sleeping potion. We pass out and wake up in a small wood cabin. Pinocchio is here, as well. He wakes up and tells us he doesn't know where we are, and his nose grows.
We know Pinocchio is lying to us, but the trick is getting him to admit it. We explore the cabin and find the evidence we need to confront him. He admits that he's been working for the evil Godmother, helping her trick us and lead us astray. We find out that Godmother blames Pinocchio for her husband, Geppetto's, death and that Pinocchio feels he's responsible. We find a letter from Geppetto to his son, assuring him not to blame himself and that his father believes in the goodness in Pinocchio's heart. Pinocchio has a change of heart now, knowing his father wouldn't want to be revived at the cost of a Cinderella's pure soul. He urges us to go with him to the castle and stop his mother's plans.
The interior of the castle is beautiful and full of mysteries for us to explore and puzzles to solve. We find Geppetto's workshop and puppet factory, as well as Godmother's sewing room. When we reach the rooftop of the castle, we find Katherine there, bound. Pinocchio runs to her and frees her, causing the Cinderella Detector in his heart to begin to glow brightly. Godmother steps forward and thanks Pinocchio for letting her know this girl really is Cinderella.
Pinocchio begs his mother not to hurt the girl, but his mother will hear nothing of it. She uses magic to dissolve the ground under Pinocchio, sending him to the room below. She then bids us farewell and causes glass spikes to erupt from the ground, blocking our way to reaching Katherine. We manage to get through this barrier, but only in time to see Amelia cast her spell and turn Katherine to glass.
Geppetto is revived, but not as the man Amelia loves. He is the Puppet Master now, and his only desire is to take over the world and make the humans suffer for killing him. He throws Amelia aside and steals the Soul Necklace from her. Heartbroken and injured, the Godmother disappears in a puff of black smoke.
Geppetto raises an army of sentient puppets behind himself and advances on us, forcing us out of the castle. On the way, we see Amelia leaving through a portal in the sewing room. We have no choice but to follow her, and we find ourselves in the ballroom of the Hilltop Mansion.
We explore, looking for some way to stop the Puppet Master and save Katherine. Along the way, we find traces of Godmother's magic in the dressing room. It seems she's hidden herself inside the wardrobe there, but we can't open it without a key. We also find a room where Godmother makes her cursed ballgowns. While we're exploring it, the dresses suddenly disappear in a puff of smoke. Is something happening to Godmother?
Grabbing the key to the wardrobe, we race to see what's happening. Godmother is inside, dying. With her last breaths, she apologizes for everything, telling us she only wanted to revive her husband and that he was a good man once. She begs us to find the Magic Glass Wand and defeat the Puppet Master, then hands us something that might help us. With that, she passes away.
We head out of the mansion to investigate the grounds and find somewhere to use the item Amelia gave us. We make our way into the Goddess temple, only to find Pinocchio passed out on the ground here! We thought we'd never see him again. We wake him and continue our search for the Magic Glass Wand.
As soon as we find the Wand, Pinocchio urges us to hurry up and runs off to a Pumpkin Carriage we found earlier. Apparently, this is how we'll be traveling to the Mirror World this time. We use the wand and a horse appears to pull the carriage. We hop in and travel in style to the Mirror World.
Once in the Mirror World again, we gain entrance to the Forbidden Grove. In it, we find the Evil Tree. Pinocchio is waiting for us there, and he tells us we need to destroy the tree in order to stop his father. We also find Katherine's soul trapped inside the Evil Tree. We fire to the tree, killing off Geppetto's evil puppet army and freeing Katherine's soul. However, since Pinocchio was made with wood from the tree, his life force is also weakening. He urges us to leave him there, wanting us to stop the Puppet Master and restore Geppetto to his former self.
We go to the roof of Amelia's castle and face the Puppet Master. We must deactivate the Wooden Beast, who has been called by Geppetto to serve him. Once we do this, we use the Magic Glass Wand to defeat the Puppet Master once and for all. Geppetto's soul is released and joined by Amelia's. Geppetto asks where Pinocchio is, and Katherine appears, holding a dying Pinocchio in her arms.
Geppetto and Amelia agree that they must save their son. Their souls turn to pure energy, and they use the last of their magical powers to combine their souls together and give Pinocchio a real body. The boy opens his eyes and lovingly thanks his mother and father for their sacrifice. Katherine tells us not to worry; she will look after Pinocchio.We see the two of them, fifteen years into the future, holding hands in front of a lovely statue in Amelia and Geppetto's honor. We then see a glimpse of the beanstalk and the kingdom atop it, and are told our journey continues...
The Final Cinderella
There was once a girl who was a "Cinderella", a maiden who retains her pure heart despite the hardships she bears. Now this girl never knew her mother, and her father and step-mother died when she was young. She was left at the mercy of her uncle, who forced the girl and her step-sister to work as unpaid servants. One day, news came that a ball was being held in the mysterious mansion on the mountain. Both girls wished to go to the ball, but they had no clothes to wear. Fortunately, an old lady gifted them each a ball gown and a pair of glass slippers. Their uncle saw the girl's new dress and confiscated it, as he desired to sell the dress for money. Her step-sister managed to hide her own dress, and she helped the girl make over an old dress for the ball. The girls greatly enjoyed themselves at the ball. However, at midnight, tragedy struck: the girl's step-sister was transformed into glass. Determined to return her step-sister to normal, the girl bravely sneaked back into the mansion to look for clues.
The Evil Godmother
Chosen by the Maiden Goddess to be "Godmother", Amelia traveled the world in search of Cinderellas. She aided many Cinderellas, and in return, the Cinderellas treated Amelia as if she were their real mother. One day, while on her travels, she met the woodcarver Geppetto. It was love at first sight. They got married and spent many blissful years together. However, their happiness was not to last. Upon returning home after one of her journeys, she discovered that her husband had been killed. The shock was to great, and she descended into madness. Desperately, she hatched a crazy plan - she would find the Final Cinderella and use her soul, together with the Soul Necklace, to bring Geppetto back to life. To find Cinderella, Amelia installed the Cinderella detector in her son, Pinocchio. She also created cursed ball gowns and glass slippers. If a girl who was not Cinderella wore her cursed clothes, she would turn into a glass maiden at midnight. Heedless of the suffering she caused to innocent girls and to her son, Pinocchio, Amelia single-mindedly devoted her life to reviving her husband. She became known as the evil Godmother.
Geppetto and Pinocchio
There was once a woodcarver named Geppetto, who traveled the world in search of wood suitable to carve his puppet masterpiece. One day, his wife Amelia brought him wood from the Forbidden Grove, with which he carved a puppet named Pinocchio. To his surprise, the puppet came to life. Pinocchio was shunned by villagers for being a sentient puppet, so he started telling lies to get people's attention. Seeing his son's loneliness, Geppetto spent several months in the Forbidden Grove carving a giant wooden Beast to act as his son's companion and protector. The time Geppetto spent in the Grove corrupted him, and he grew obsessed with carving puppets, even neglecting his family for the sake of creating more puppets. The villagers grew afraid of Geppetto and his creepy puppets, so they had him put to death. Devastated, Pinocchio blamed himself for his dad's death. He decided to redeem himself by searching for Cinderella, so that he might help his mother revive his dad.
Handmaidens of the Maiden Goddess
Forbidden to directly interfere with the mortal world, the Maiden Goddess decided to choose a pure-hearted maiden with magical powers to act as her handmaiden. Upon her handmaiden, she bestowed the power to detect "Cinderellas" and gave her the Magic Glass Wand. With this powerful magical tool, the handmaiden could wield powerful magic. The handmaiden's primary duty is to seek out and aid "Cinderellas". In time her good deeds were known to all, and she came to be called "Godmother". After the first Godmother died, the Maiden Goddess chose another to take her place. Thus, the tradition has carried on to the present day. Each handmaiden expressed their magic in different ways. For example, one Godmother was skilled at dressmaking, so she liked to imbue her magic in the clothes she made. When the Maiden Goddess saw that the latest Godmother had turned evil, she took away the Godmother's powers and confiscated the Magic Glass Wand. In her disappointment at her handmaiden's betrayal, the Maiden Goddess vowed never to pick another handmaiden again.
The Forbidden Grove
Deep inside the Mirror World lies a grove of trees filled with great spiritual power. This magical grove can only be accessed by means of specially enchanted mirrors. Long ago, a band of thieves found one of these mirrors and entered into the Mirror World to plunder its treasures. However, they were caught and executed in the magical grove. In death, their souls lingered, corrupting the trees with their hatred and greed. The trees became twisted and deformed, and the grove came to be known as the Forbidden Grove. It is said that if a pure-hearted person created a puppet with wood from these trees, the puppet would be given a soul and come to life. However, if the puppet maker had a tainted heart, the puppet would be soulless. Those who spend too much time in the Forbidden Grove will gradually become corrupted by the thieves' souls and the Evil Trees. Only the Magic Glass Wand is able to purify the Grove.
Cinderella Parables Edit
Ella Blom, The First Cinderella
Once upon a time, there was a "Cinderella" named Ella. After her father died, she was sent to work in the kitchen by her step-mother. One day, news came that the Prince had decided to hold a ball. All the girls in the kingdom were invited, but Ella was forbidden to go. Forlornly, Ella made a wish that she could join her step-sisters at the ball. Hearing her desperate plea, Godmother appeared. She transformed a pumpkin and mice into a beautiful horse-drawn carriage. Then, Ella's rags were transformed into a stunning ball gown and glittering glass slippers. Arriving at the ball, Ella immediately captured the Prince's attention. He fell in love with her gentle nature, and they got married and lived happily ever after.
Agnes Koch, The Second Cinderella
There was once a Queen whose beauty was unparalleled. Before she died, she made her King promise never to marry anyone uglier than herself. Years passed, and the King found that the only person beautiful enough to be his bride was his daughter Agnes. Horrified by her father's plan to marry her, Agnes fled. Along the way, she met Godmother, who used her magic to send Agnes to a faraway land, where she would be safe from her father's pursuit. Upon arriving, Agnes saved a frog from being devoured by a giant snake. Impressed by her bravery, the frog made his identity known: he was the cursed Frog Prince of the Black Forest. Agnes married the Prince, and they lived happily ever after until her death.
Shan Mao, The Third Cinderella
Once upon a time, there was a Princess in the East named Shan. She had a kind and generous spirit, and all her people loved her. Shan had a step-sister named Chi, who was deeply jealous of Shan's popularity. Chi was always playing cruel tricks on Shan, but Shan never bore any ill will toward Chi. One day, Chi discovered that her beloved Prince had fallen in love with Shan. In her fury, she used her magic to change Shan into a nine-tailed fox. When the Prince came to visit Shan, he found out about Shan's predicament. With Godmother's help, he managed to restore Shan to her human form. He married Shan, and they lived happily ever after.
Bianca Pace, The Fourth Cinderella
Once, there was a girl named Bianca whose beauty and kind nature attracted many suitors. Her step-mother feared that her own daughters would not be able to find any husbands, so she had a witch imprison Bianca in a cursed tower. One day, a Prince happened to pass by the tower and saw that Bianca was trapped. He broke into the tower, freeing Bianca, but fell prey to a curse which transformed him into a hideous ogre. Feeling responsible for the Prince's plight, Bianca journeyed to find a cure for the Prince. After many trials and tribulations, she found Godmother, who helped her brew a curse-breaking potion. Bianca used the potion to restore the Prince to his human form, and he married Bianca. They lived happily ever after.
- The Mansion Gate is locked with a Pumpkin Coach lock that needs two medallions to open it. One is an Ivy medallion, the other a Rose medallion - like the sisters, Princess Ivy and Briar Rose.
- In the dressing room of the Hilltop Mansion, we see an engraving of the Frog Prince and his princess. In this same room, we find the Closet Shrine of Agnes Koch, James's wife.
- The tears of a Golden Child are used to open the Mirror Portal in the Ruins.
- In the Mirror World, we find a bag of Beanstalk Beans. When planted, they grow a gigantic beanstalk. This is a hint to the next game in the series, Jack and the Sky Kingdom.
- We find a Red Riding Hood Robe in Amelia's sewing room. Amelia was the one who made these robes for the Sisterhood, imbuing them with the magic that would keep animals from detecting their scent.
- In Geppetto's workshop, we find a map of the Red Riding Hood Sisters' hideout on the wall, suggesting that Geppetto had a hand in building it.
- We find a book telling the story a crooked man and a crooked cat in Geppetto's secret room. There's also finely carved figures of the cat and the man from the tale. These allude to the spin-off game, Cursery: The Crooked Man and the Crooked Cat.
- Tablets in the Maiden Goddess's temple tell us how Amelia helped many Cinderellas, including Agnes, who went on to marry the Frog Prince.
- In the Mirror World, we find the remnants of a beanstalk that was chopped down. We also see the Sky Kingdom floating in the sky above. These things allude to the next game in the series, Jack and the Sky Kingdom. Oddly enough, there are giant footprints beside the beanstalk - an oddity, since giants are uninvolved in game six.
- The teaser clip at the end of the game features a quick trip up the beanstalk we saw earlier, culminated in our first glimpse of the Sky Kingdom.
- On the balcony overlooking the mirror and the ballroom, there are two tea cups set out that contain blue tea. This is an allusion to Blue Tea Games, the creators of the Dark Parables series.
- According to All About Casual Game, this game is awarded as the Second Best Visual Games of 2013.
- Jennifer Lee, the writer of this installment, was also known to be the Director of Disney's Frozen (which released last December 2013).
Creative Director: Steven Zhao
Production Manager: Gavin Wong
Producer: Kenneth Djuwidja
Art Lead: Homer Cheung
Game Designers: Steven Zhao, Timmy Kwok
Cutscene Team Lead: Snix Cheng
Artists: Lee Wai Sum, Suyi Ma, Alejandro Dini, Chan Kwong Wai, Wan Suet Yu, Meow Lai, Chiu Cheung, Evelyn Tsang, Teresa Tse, Suki Chan, Mandy Wong, Karla Wong, Michael Wong, Steven Kwok
Game Engine Architect: Chan Ho Yuen
Game Content Developers: Kenneth Djuwidja, Albert Wong, Timmy Kwok
Puzzle Designers: Steven Zhao, Timmy Kwok
Animation Specialist: FCP
Animators: Wan Leung, Lee Wai Sum, Gavin Wong, Chiu Cheung, Wan Suet Yu, Frankie Yip, Wan Leung, Ricky Siu
Audio Production: SomeTone Interactive Audio
Writer: Jennifer Lee