Charm Tale
Reviewed by Didi Cardoso
Review Date Platform Genre Rating Production
2005-12-01 PC Puzzle E (Everyone) GameHouse / Puzzle Lab

I have recently discovered Puzzle Lab's website, and was I happy as pig in mud! They have a handful of variations of Puzzle Inlay, one of them being Charm Tale.

Charm Tale combines the fun of Puzzle Inlay with a fairytale type of story, spanning through ten chapters, each containing 5 to 8 challenges.

Several years ago, a spell was cast on the inhabitants of Fairyland turning them into motionless figures covered in mosaic pieces. But along comes a hero to dispel the curse with the help of sparkling pieces of crystal. By placing these crystalline pieces on the mosaic board, you will slowly uncover the wonderful images behind it.

The mechanics of the game works a bit like Zuma: pieces will flow from the bird to the chameleon, and if they reach it, the game ends. This is where the Puzzle Inlay gameplay comes in, you pull the pieces from the chain and place them on the mosaic grid. You can rotate them by right clicking to find more appropriate positions for them.

You can place the pieces back on the chain by clicking it, or if you want to get rid of it, you can throw them in the Drop Portal (though there is a short period of time to wait before using it again). Another fancy little helper is hidden in the chameleon itself. If you see a little sparkling red and yellow sphere, it means it's ready for use. By clicking the chameleon at this time, you will break the next piece in the chain, turning it into a small piece.

There are a few bonus pieces that occasionally show up in the chain. Here are some of them:

  • a red spider will remove the closest pieces to it from the chain;
  • a blue spider will remove all the pieces from the chain;
  • a blue spinning gem will push back the chain movement;
  • an hourglass will stop the chain from moving for a little while.

Aside from lifting the spell and unveiling the image, you have to recover the ancient artifacts for each stage. These artifacts are usually jewelry, and their respective pieces also show up in the chain. Pick them up and drag them to the respective place within the faded outline. Each artifact that you restore will let you increase one of your skills.

Now what is this, a puzzle game with skills? Yes, that's right. Every time you complete an artifact, you are given the option to pick a skill or to increase an existing one, such as the probability of finding more spiders, hourglasses, increase the pause bonus or add more shots to the chameleon.

The music is just so dreamy, I think it fits the magical atmosphere of the game perfectly. It really isn't the type of music I expected from a puzzle game, it seems to be something that we'd hear on a fantasy RPG.

Fairies, wizards, dwarfs, underwater creatures and other friendly inhabitants will be waiting for you as you move on from scenery to scenery, and what beautiful illustrations they are. It seems like the background images and artwork came out of a fairytale storybook.

If you like fairytales, puzzles and happy endings, then Charm Tale is the right game for you. It truly is a charming puzzle with a charming story.

Minimum System Requirements:
  • Pentium 500 or better
  • Windows 98/ME/2000/XP
  • DirectX 7.0 or better
  • 26 Mb free hard drive space
  • DirectX-compatible sound card