The Princess Bride - The Official Game iOS Review: It's Inconceivable That This Adaptation Is As Fun As It Is!
The Princess Bride is now available as a casual mini-game title on iOS, and it's actually fairly fun? Inconceivable!
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Rob Reiner's 1987 movie (itself based on the 1973 William Goldman novel) about boy meets girl, boy leaves girl in search of fortune, boy is killed by pirates but not really, girl is engaged to be married to a sniveling king so boy has to endure various tests of manhood to win her back, is one of the all-time great cinema classics; featuring some of the cinema's greatest characters, lines and easily one of the top five best swordfights ever filmed.
A previous attempt, titled The Princess Bride Game and featuring the original actors, came and went in 2008 without much notice. While the new title from developer Gameblend Studios is only a collection of four Princess Bride-themed mini-games, they're created with the same sense of breeziness and whimsy that has so captivated people of all ages since the film's release.
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The mini-games follow roughly the first half hour of the film, from Buttercup's attempted escape in the eel-infested water to Westley's battle with Fezzik. You have played all of these games before - the Shrieking Eels is basically whack-a-mole, the Cliffs of Insanity - which has you scooting up the rockface whilst avoiding various obstacles - is any number of endless running titles (endless climber?); the Battle of Steel is Fruit Ninja, but with rapiers, while the Battle of Strength is a basic Infinity Blade knock-off.
Players start the game with the Shrieking Eels level and earn Stars to unlock the remaining modes, which is a fairly easy process to accomplish. Each level has various objectives - collect X amount of coins, climb X meters - that will unlock Stars and various soundbites from the film that you can access from the game's main menu. Unlock them all and you have a pretty sweet soundboard that you can prank call people with.
The first two titles - Shrieking Eels and Cliffs of Insanity - are by far the breakout hits of the game. Though simplistic in gameplay - whack eels, climb walls - the variation in obstacles ensures you never play the same game exactly twice. Maybe you'll be assaulted by a regular group of eels, followed by a boss, or the dreaded conga line; or maybe you'll be constantly hammered with Seagulls and their many sub-sets: Puppy Love, Block of Seagulls, Speed Demons and the like. I'm a huge fan of both endless runners and The Princess Bride, so I was in heaven dodging and weaving as I scaled up the cliff-face, never to reach the top.
If you fail at any point in a game, the option to use a pill from Miracle Max appears, allowing you to continue on with what you were doing. You start the game with five and will go through them very slowly. An option exists to buy them if you'd like, as does to unlock all the games and videos, but beyond that there are no other in-app purchases. None are necessary.
Earning miracle pills, however, seems to be an impossibility - at the very least I have not come across the feature during my time. It would seem that the various gold pieces you find throughout each of the mini-games would go towards something besides the rare objective, but they are nothing more than shiny things to tempt you.
The art style from Todd Bright is colorful and delightful, as well it should be, while the music from The Psychedelic Furs member Mars Williams is a cheerful homage to the brilliant score from Mark Knopfler in the original film.
I know what you're thinking, the game I've described above sounds an awful like an 'free-to-play' title and to that I would respond like Carol Kane: Liar! Liar! The Princess Bride costs $3.99 on the App Store, perhaps a hefty price for games you may already own; however, there are numerous free updates planned: the Battle of Wits between Westley and Vizzini, for example, as well as a trek through the many perils of the fire swamp.
In fact, there are so many scenes that could be used as a future mini-game. Why not include a rhyming challenge to test your vocabulary? Or a siege scene? Or an 'endless faller' in which you guide Buttercup and company down to the horses after subduing Prince Humperdink? I'm sure the amount of content you can create from the Pit of Despair can fill several mini-titles.
The Princess Bride is worth the price. It is utterly inconceivable that anyone who loves the movie won't find something to smile about in this breezy, if still slight, mini-game compilation.
The Princess Bride: The Official Game was reviewed using a game code from the publisher. You can download it on the App Store.