Made and Published by Baroque Decay
Played on: PS Vita and PSTV
Also available on: Switch, PS4, Xbox One, Windows, MAC OS, and Linux
After his dad was drafted into the army, Hans and his mother live a poor life in their rural cottage. On Hans’ 10th birthday, he expects a cake and gifts like the rest of the boys he goes to school with. But his mother informs him of their deteriorating financial state and tells him that he will have to do without presents and a cake. This angers Hans, who believes that because he’s 10, he is an adult. Hans storms out of the house against his mother’s wishes and departs into the brave wilderness in search of fortune with nothing more than a candle, loaf of bread, and what little money his family has to their name.
As Hans makes his way through the winding paths, he encounters many people in need of help. It’s up to the player to choose who to help and how to help them. Eventually Hans walks up to a tombstone. Upon reading the name, a strange crow appears and everything goes black. Hans awakes and is guided by a kobold (a spirit in German folklore) to a castle, and is told that the power to rule over the land can be his if Hans can guess his name. And now our adventure starts.
The Count Lucanor is an adventure-puzzle game with a top down view of the world. The goal is to collect eight letters to spell the name of the previously mentioned kobold by completing 8 different puzzles. Puzzles can range from a variety of tasks, such as having to navigate a maze, run a gauntlet of fire, and figure out the order of a series of levers. Other gameplay includes avoiding the castle’s guards, as they lurk the floors of the castle after the player completes the third puzzle.
Each puzzle is behind a different color door that needs a corresponding colored key to unlock. Once the player has completed two puzzles, they will be able to get another key. This pattern goes on until all eight letters have been collected.
The game’s puzzles are most of its gameplay. It’s also where most of the game’s problems stem from. The first problem is the difficulty. Five out of the eight puzzles were incredibly easy, all of which only took me one or two tries to complete. The last three are incredibly hard however. They either involve avoiding invisible monsters in a dark area or running away from fire. The reason why these last three are so hard are for three different, but equally annoying reasons.
The first is the speed at which Hans walks. It’s so slow he would lose a race to a crippled snail. The boy must have a degenerative knee disease or shin splints because he barely moves, even when pushing the analog stick forward at full force. And to add to the issue is the fact that the game has a lot of movement glitches. After interacting with an object, Hans has the tendency to freeze up. Meaning that when you need to get the hell out of the room because an evil spirit is about to drag you to the depths of Hell, Hans with just stand there like he’s trying to remember something, before having his throat thorn out.
The second issue is every other glitch in the game. There were times when almost nothing was happening on the screen; And yet, the game would still shit it’s pants and run at five frames a second. This made running the fire gauntlet almost impossible and very frustrating, as all the fire effects would make the game freeze up at times in addition to Hans running like fat ass. The intro sequence is the worst though, as the majority of the time is spent trying to navigate the woods while the game runs at half the frames.
Another glitch occurs when equipping items. In most normal games you would equip an item by clicking on it, putting it in your character’s hand, and then using it. But equipping most items doesn’t do anything, meaning that if you need to heal by eating an apple, you have to dig back into your inventory, click on the apple, and then click eat. If it’s already in my character’s hand I should be able to shove it into my character’s mouth without having to go back into the inventory for the fourteenth time.
The final issue, is the lighting. In almost every room it’s pitch black and the only way to light the room is by walking around the entire perimeter and placing candles. This takes a lot of time and is a game mechanic with the sole purpose of adding difficulty to an easy, boring game. You can’t see anything without the candles. And they can be few and far between, meaning that you will go without enough of them for long periods of time. The lighting doesn’t add anything to the game. No horror, no atmosphere, no tension. It’s just a lazy developer using a cheap tactic to pad out game time with repeated deaths and long periods of placing candles to see the monsters you should be avoiding.
Oh but don’t leave yet, there’s more to this shit show. The music and sound effects are offensively simple and annoying. Every time Hans takes a step it sounds obnoxiously loud. And the music that loops in the background is annoying to say the least.
My final problem with this game, because there isn’t really anything to say about it other than it sucks, is how the developer describes the game. The developer says that the game is meant to pay homage to great series like The Legend of Zelda and Silent Hill. It fails them both. In terms of adventure and puzzles, the game is laughably simple and boring compared to LoZ. And in terms of horror and story, the game seems more like an off base parody to Silent Hill rather than a homage with its blanketing darkness and generic monsters.
In conclusion, The Count Lucanor is a terrible game. When I say that this is one of the worst games I’ve ever played, I mean it. There is nothing redeeming about this appallingly generic piece of crap. The gameplay is boring, the music is awful, the puzzles were either designed by a mentally challenged toddler or were made by a masochist. The game isn’t worth your money. I paid six dollars instead of the regular 13 and still feel like I’ve been jipped of my money. The game is 3 hours of pure garbage and doesn’t deserve any love or attention from the gaming community.
I am giving The Count Lucanor a 1 out of 10
If you hate living you can play this
Really bad “puzzles”
Horrendous music and sound effects