The Princess Bride - The Official Game review: Great for nostalgia, but little else
The official game for the cult comedy hit manages to bring back some great memories, but the gameplay is simply not up to snuff.
The Princess Bride - The Official Game ($3.99 | £2.99 | $AU4.99) attempts to let you relive your favorite moments of the classic movie comedy through short animated minigames that contain dialog snippets from the original production. You'll also see still photos from the movie and hear music from the original soundtrack.
It's now been almost 30 years since "The Princess Bride" showed in theaters and it is still loved by many -- including me. But while I was happy to see some of the hilarious scenes come to life in a game and hear some of the classic quotes, the gameplay itself was a pretty big letdown.
At the time of this writing, the user reviews at the App Store rate the game at almost 5 stars out of 5, and I only have one response to that: Inconceivable!
'The Princess Bride' as a game
The official game is not a step-by-step retelling, nor will you play as any of the characters from the movie for the whole game. Instead The Princess Bride game has four minigames (so far) that let you take part in famous scenes from the movie. Unfortunately, none are very complex or fun.
The four games include Shrieking Eels, the Cliffs of Insanity, Battle of Steel and Battle of Strength. These minigames only take you a little ways into the story, but there's a placeholder for more parts that developers Gameblend Studios promise will be coming in future free updates.
The Shrieking Eels starts with Princess Buttercup treading water near the ship from early in the movie. As eels approach, your job is to tap them on the head when they surface to kill them and protect the princess. The shrieking eels approach in waves, attacking in different formations and the object is to help the princess survive as long as possible.
The Cliffs of Insanity segment has you playing as Westley scaling the cliffsin hot pursuit of the princess and her captors and you can tilt to lean the rope from side to side as you avoid seagulls, falling rocks, and other obstacles.
In the Battle of Steel, which is meant to show the early fighting scene between Westley and Inigo Montoya, you play a game that closely resembles Fruit Ninja as you swipe to hit flying swords before they drop below the bottom of the screen.
Finally, in Battle of Strength, you'll swipe to dodge punches from Fezzik, the character played by Andre the Giant, while you wait for the moment when you can attack.
All of the games are cutely animated with a good-looking artistic style, and you'll hear quotes from the movie during the intros and music from the movie as you play. But while the game definitely triggered my nostalgia for "The Princess Bride," the games themselves were all incredibly simple with nothing I haven't seen before from the most basic browser-based games. All are straightforward with no added extras, such as bonus points for hitting multiple swords in Battle of Steel, for example, or extra moves to make the fighting aspect of Battle of Strength more interesting. Frankly I'd rather wrestle a couple ROUSes (rodents of unusual size) from the movie than sit through this game for another hour.
Unlocking levels and famous funny quotes
When you first launch the game, you'll only be able to play the Shrieking Eels minigame. Unlocking the next minigame of the collection requires that you complete achievements within Shrieking Eels. When you complete an achievement, such as killing the first boss, you'll gain a star. Unlocking subsequent minigames will require a certain number of stars, so expect to play each minigame several times to complete achievements and unlock them all.
As you continue to complete achievements, you'll also unlock quotes from an in-game soundboard where you can touch to hear classic quotes like, "Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die." There are 25 achievements to unlock giving you quotes from throughout the movie, and there are bound to be more as future free updates (and minigames) are released.
Only true 'wovers' of the movie should get this game
The Princess Bride - The Official Game might appeal to hard-core fans of the movie -- at least initially. I suspect the rating is so high on the App Store because of people's love for the movie rather than their opinion of the game.
So while listening to the quotes and playing some of the famous scenes will be fun for nostalgia's sake, the actual gameplay just doesn't live up to the movie. Especially at the game's current price of $3.99.
If you're a big fan of "The Princess Bride," you might get some enjoyment from unlocking everything, but after that, the only reason it will sit on your home screen is because of your love for the movie -- not for the game itself.