Let me begin by saying I went into this game expecting to love it. Grim Tales, you say? That’s going to be awesome! Then I loaded the game and got even more excited. The graphics were dark and ghostly, like a real fairytale should be. There were gnarly trees, an over grown shack, and more spider webs than you could shake a stick at. Grimm Tales: The Wishes was shaping out to be an epic and memorable grizzly fairytale adventure. And then the game started.
Hoo boy. It’s hard to know where to start. The very first thing to throw me off was the voice acting. I’ve heard people deliver lines in a manner that expressed worry, despair, and anxiety, so I know it’s possible. Those kinds of voice actors are out there. But they clearly weren’t accepting work when this game was cast.
Every single line was painful, pushed too far and too hard. Dramatic pauses can accentuate an emotion, but you can’t use them to cover the lack of one and longer pauses definitely don’t equal a better performance. And that’s just the sister/mom; the little boy was even worse!
I get that they were going for a young sounding voice, and I suppose it’s hard to find a kid who can fake fear, but oh my god. Pair the terrible voice acting with the overly dramatic music, and you’re way better off just muting the game and playing some music or putting a movie on in the background.
The little boy’s room is a spooky place where bad things happened, I got that. I get the concept. Please lay off with the crazy music already. The only outlier was the strange living puppet. His scenes were all really good, and almost worth keeping the sound on for. Then one of the others would pop up and nope, nothin’ doin’. You see that little skip up in the top right corner? You grab that and move on, because believe me when I say: the lines she’s reading are not the bad part.
But I kept playing, because vocal skill isn’t really supposed to be what makes or breaks a game (but man, I spent most of my teenage and adult life tracking down original language esoteric animes because when it comes down to it: most Americans are terrible, terrible voice actors. Terrible. There are some things I can forgive, but that’s not one of them.)
Anyway, gameplay. I mentioned earlier that I loved the look of the game, and that never changed. The artistry and world design were just a lot of fun because they reminded me of A Grim Tale. The hidden object games weren’t horribly hard, but they weren’t gimmies either. You had to take a minute.
My big problem, though, was all the useless running around. I must have gone from the little boy’s room to the fire room to the kitchen, back to the boy’s room, only to return to the fire room about a dozen times. I had to return to the front yard six times before I was finally finished with that area, and don’t get me started on the fact that I had to find and clear a secret tunnel leading from the kid’s room out to the swamp in the backyard (Why in the backyard? Why?) instead of just walking around the house as I presume the mother/sister did when she mysteriously vanished into the swamp.
There was also very little logic involved when using the tools collected into inventory. For example, when I was traveling down the secret tunnel in the boy’s bedroom closet, (Why?)I found my way blocked by a crumbling wall. So, of course, I had to find a bullet and a gun, put the bullet in the gun, and then use it to shoot a mace from the ceiling so it could knock down the wall like some kind of morning star wrecking ball. That happened. Why? (And yes, that’s a cat in my inventory. Yes, I ended up using him several times. No, I’m not sure why.)
Now, I work full time and I’m also fighting my way through the end of a biology degree, so I don’t spend a lot of brain power on games when I play. That’s why I always put them on their lowest possible setting, in this case “casual mode.” Even with that, though, the puzzles in Grim Tales: The Wishes were tough. Rebuilding a stained glass window on a rotating table tough. Most of the time (all of the time) I tried until the little hint flower finished blooming before clicking skip and moving on with my romp through the entire household. Again.
When you boil it down, Grim Tales: The Wishes was a game brimming with potential: a neat idea, beautiful artistry, and a great world design. Then the game starts, and it’s all downhill. The characters are over-dramatic in dialogue and execution. The hidden objects needed to move on in the game are spaced way too far away from what they’re supposed to be unlocking, and the puzzles are so tough they’re not really worth trying (for a person who isn’t playing because they love puzzles. If you’re a puzzle lover you’ll have a great time with these).
By the time you catch up with the little boy in the swamp you kind of just want to say, “Tough age to be Dorian Gray, kid, but you’re going to have to suck it up because I’m out.”
Why does a person play a game? If it’s for relaxation or as an escape from the rigors of real life, then you’re better off skipping this one. The only thing Grim Tales: The Wishes got me was strange looks. But I guess that’s what I get for shouting at the computer every time something completely asinine ended up in my bag. Which was often. I’m not one for being completely negative, though, so here: I’ll leave you with the best thing this game has to offer. You’re welcome.