Castle of the Red Prince

by C.E.J. Pacian profile

Fantasy
2013

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Reviews and Ratings

5 star:
(9)
4 star:
(18)
3 star:
(19)
2 star:
(1)
1 star:
(1)
Average Rating:
Number of Ratings: 47
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- Amun100 (UK), July 26, 2022

- Titania Lowe, January 24, 2022

- Little Bilham (Atlanta, GA), September 15, 2021

- Pinstripe (Chicago, Illinois), February 27, 2021

- Edo, September 4, 2020

- William Chet (Michigan), July 20, 2020

- Zape, June 21, 2020

- kierlani, April 14, 2020

- Ruber Eaglenest, May 26, 2018

- TheAncientOne, February 4, 2017

- leanbh, December 1, 2016

- IFforL2 (Chiayi, Taiwan), December 1, 2016

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful:
Interesting gameplay idea that could have carried a larger game, May 1, 2016
by Rollersnake (Rogers, AR)

For once I wish the author HAD made a longwinded classic-style quest. Castle of the Red Prince provides a good setup for one, a GREAT navigation gimmick, and then barely enough content to illustrate the potential of the gimmick.

As for what's there, my only problem is the same syntax issue with the foundation puzzle that another reviewer commented on. I just really wanted to spend more time playing around with the cool idea the author had.


- jakomo, March 30, 2016

- Dhary, March 3, 2016

- E. W. B., February 23, 2016

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
An odd, short horror/fantasy game where all locations are present at once, February 3, 2016

This game is intended for beginners, and seems almost like a demo of a new system, but only in the way that Galatea was the demo for a new system (I.e. It is still well-polished).

The new system is interesting. You can instantly return to any of the dozen or so locations by typing X [LOCATION]. You can talk to anyone, anywhere, or take any item, without traveling there first.

The plot itself is just vaguely sketched out. There are hints about who you are, some big hints about the red prince, very little history. The game is short.

Basically, you are an adventurer and scholar who is trying to stop the Red Prince who lives in a castle above a village.

Overall, though, it was a fun experience, and a nice change from Lovecraftian horror.


- Veraloo, January 20, 2016

- branewurms, December 29, 2015

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful:
Bite-sized Gothic gem, October 11, 2015

Other reviewers have already gone into detail about the novel controls, so I will pass on that part. However, even without the mechanical inventiveness, this would still be worth playing.

The world of Amaranth has a unique, dreamy ambience. Despite its small size, there is enough detail (for example, the books) that it doesn't feel sparse. The responses to entering the (unnecessary) compass directions are an excellent touch.

The writing is very good - it falls into slight cliché once or twice, but it's clear and often very vivid. While I agree with other reviewers that the Red Prince does come off as a bit too passive, he is a memorable antagonist.

While the horror element is unlikely to keep you awake at night, the game does a good job at being eerie while staying away from cheap tricks: there is very little violence, little squickiness (apart from the undead guards), no unfair deaths. I enjoyed some of the dreamlike and unnerving images, such as (Spoiler - click to show)the horned skeleton at the shrine in the forest.

However, as the above paragraph shows, one could argue that the protagonist is a bit too safe in what should be a game about battling a powerful nemesis. The downside to the unique control system is a sense of alienation: we view this world top-down, like an intensely detailed model village. The PC can go pretty much anywhere: movement is carried out by the verb EXAMINE. At first, after the intro text's mention of dreams, I assumed that the game was meant to take place inside the PC's dreams, explaining the alien ambience that stems from the controls, but since you can go to sleep and dream in Amaranth (activating a clever, well-written hint system), that doesn't seem to be the case.

The puzzles are mostly simple and well-worn, in contrast with the innovations in other aspects. This isn't a problem for me (I'd rather play a game with conventional-but-logical puzzles than one that forces in the puzzles), but neither is it an advantage. However, one puzzle I did find original was (Spoiler - click to show)how you dispose of the Red Prince's body.

Castle of the Red Prince is a delicate, gem-like petit-four rather than a full meal. Highly recommended if you feel like playing a Gothic fantasy game that is a small time investment and unnerving rather than gruesome, as well as mechanically innovative.


- E.K., June 24, 2015

- Fabien Vidal (Tours, France), May 25, 2015

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Shade Movement in a Different Direction, January 13, 2015
by Harry Coburn (Atlanta, GA)

I just played this after finishing off Andrew Plotkin's Shade. In most IF, the basic navigational unit is the room. In Castle of the Red Prince and Shade it is the object. The movement system in both games have some similarities. In Castle, players move about a wide spatial area by examining objects. Standard movement functions don't work. This lets the player leap about the game space easily. You can find an object and immediately use it if you can remember the noun you need.

In Shade, the feel is far more claustrophobic, but it has a similar movement structure. Movement within the nooks of the apartment is also done by examining them. Items in the nooks can get examined directly upon discovery after they've been viewed once.

This type of navigation works well for very small IF games. Disambiguation errors would grow rapidly without careful crafting otherwise. Castle does it well, but I also feel that the story could have been stronger without sacrificing the navigation, as noted in other reviews.


5 of 5 people found the following review helpful:
Perfect pulp fantasy, January 12, 2015
by CMG (NYC)

This is a game that you pop in your mouth and let melt like a chocolate bonbon.

It is short. It is simple. It is seamless.

The premise is not revolutionary. You have come to a forested land to overthrow an evil prince who lives inside a castle on a cliff. There is a haunted graveyard. There is a village inn. The barkeep has gossip and ale to dispense.

These are all staples in the fantasy genre. This game reminds you why. Here, they have been pared down to achieve purity. And by allowing the player to travel anywhere spontaneously just by "examining" an object or location, the game streamlines the story, letting it slip down so smoothly that it's delicious.

If you want complex puzzles, or difficult moral choices interwoven into the gameplay, or deep characterization, then this game will no doubt disappoint. But if you want a classic fantasy scenario executed superbly, look no further.


- Floating Info, January 5, 2015


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