Developed and Published By: GrimTalin Categories: Puzzle Release Date: 05.28.21
I can’t say that mixing a fantasy novel with a puzzle game is a crossover I would think of, but that’s what we’re handed with Long Ago: A Puzzle Tale.
Long Ago is the kind of game that you’ll need to plan out each move you make as you roll your marble into feathers, which causes the story and writing to unfold, narration rather. Each stage continues where we left off, becoming harder each time. Eventually you’ll be cut off at the end of each chapter. In order to unlock the next chapter, you’ll need to get a certain amount of diamonds. These diamonds are earned in extra, not story based levels and replaying the story levels. The goal this time is to collect every coin, and the better you do, the more diamonds of three you receive.
Later levels get some obstacles to work around. Monk statues that summon what you need, pots that could hold them, posts that can quickly change direction. Plan around these, otherwise you’ll just get lost and fail a level.
If this is too difficult, then eventually you’ll be given hints on how to beat each level, and in those coin challenges, getting a Gold Rank, giving you all three diamonds. In terms of accessibility, I love this. Not only does this expose that you can do these levels in multiple ways, it’s truly a help to people who might not understand how these puzzles work, and in turn letting them learn.
Now, the requisite of those diamonds is an issue I have with Long Ago. To get to Chapter 2, you need about 35, which would mean you’d need at least 2 for each level in the chapter, this includes the bonus levels. This absolutely DESTROYS the pacing of the game. I’d much prefer if those bonus levels were optional, or at least the required number of diamonds to be lower. Thankfully, the game is fun.
This is purely opinion and not a flaw, but the whole general fantasy theme the game has isn’t my cup of tea. It’s very much “generic high fantasy” in terms of music and artstyle. Again, this isn’t a knock against the game, because I know that people do enjoy this style, but I find it passe.
Outside of each challenge, you can read the story by itself. The story of The Locked Princess. A young maiden, wanting more, to escape from the prison of her tower in the castle. It’s a neat story, full of rhyming, and I wanted to get more of it so I’d try to beat those chapters and get those diamonds as quick as I could. With those coins you can also unlock new marbles if the default isn’t to your liking. I enjoyed this, gives a bit more replay value. There’s also a hefty list of achievements to unlock.
Long Ago is a puzzle game that made me think and I always like that. My biggest and really main issue with the game was that the bonus levels are considered optional in the achievement list, but in reality are not. I suppose its to extend a the game’s short length, but it really does mess with the pacing considering how fast the standard levels go by. I would have loved if the bonus levels had their own little story. Otherwise, what we have here is a fun puzzler, which if you like fantasy novels, I’d find very hard not to recommend.