The Ugly Prince Duckling - Review

The Ugly Prince Duckling
Ages: Everyone

The game story is set in Hans Christian Anderson's Copenhagen and is populated with characters from his fairy tales. It begins with Hans Christian using marionettes to tell his story and then fades into the game. An interesting aside is that the story bears some resemblance to Hans Christian's life starting out poor, his interest in theatre, early involvement with puppets and the good providence to have the Danish King take interest in him and pay for his education.

In the game, Hans Christian starts out as a poor youth, trying to improve his status in life. Levels of the game parallel his increase in social status. In doing odd-jobs, collecting wealth, buying new clothes, and saving the princess, he interacts with many of HCA's story characters which is part of the delight of the game. Both children and adults will smile in recognition as he meets and talks to the little match girl, Clumsy Hans, get tips from the little mermaid and the chimneysweep, and faces the three bulldogs of the Tinderbox all the while with Peer Gynt playing in the background.

The characters resemble marionettes, but move smoothly. The voice acting is excellent, from the timid little voice of the match girl to the booming haughty one of the corpulent acting director. The sets are done with the lush color and detail that resemble the best of those giant fairytale books. The many inventive locations in the story, starting with the Village Square, moving up through the Trade and Craftsmen Quarters, the Artist Quarters, the Aristocrat Quarters and finally the Palace, mirror Hans Christian's improved social status. His upward striving is centered around getting enough money to buy new clothes to ease his entry into a higher social circle. Truly leveling-up.

The game can be controlled either with the keyboard or the mouse. With the mouse, it is point and click and follow the yellow dotted path. Camera angles seem arbitrary and often swing around, so what seems like a simple destination becomes a jumbled trip. Annoying as this may be, it should not be enough to deter one from playing, and enjoying the game. It's a great introduction to the classic fairy tales and can be shared by both child and parent grandparent too. Guppyworks has a good thing going here hope they continue to mine those classic fairy tales.

Fun Factor: Great fun remembering the stories best shared.
Female Factor: Women's lib wasn't big in 1800 Copenhagen but we do have a princess.
Player Friendly: Easy saves but needs smoother navigation.

Reviewed by: Editor - 08/07

  • The Ugly Prince Duckling
  • © The Adventure Company/Guppyworks
  • Platform(s): WVISTA XP W2K
  • To Order: Win $17.99