Avalon


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Rating: 4.2/5 (36 votes)
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Avalon

JohnBAvalon is a beautifully illustrated casual simulation game that focuses on gathering resources and exploring a magical forest. It ditches the traditional top-down point of view in favor of a sidescrolling 2D perspective which, surprisingly, diminishes that cerebral simulation feeling. As with any casual sim, it's easy to see the influence Virtual Villagers has had, but Avalon strays well off the rails with its setting, graphical style, and the ability to inspire you to explore the world around you.

avalon.jpgIn Avalon you assume the role of a Fairy Queen on a mission: go to the world of Avalon, occupy the island, and find the four elements that will restore magic to the Fairy Kingdom. This translates into you, the player, managing an ever-growing community of fairies who need to gather resources and explore every niche of their setting in order to find each element. You don't have to worry about caring for each worker beyond keeping a stockpile of food, freeing you up to explore the landscape and mine it for secrets.

There are three resources to manage in Avalon, each one gathered from landmarks scattered around the screen. Food feeds the fairies and comes from berry bushes, while pollen is used to spawn new fairies and comes from flowers. The magic resource comes from glowing white flowers. You'll also encounter random (and not-so-random) objects and events that may provide additional resources. They could also harbor danger, however, so it's your choice what you want to make of them.

While food and pollen are both important in their own right, magic is one resource you'll want to keep well-stocked. There are a dozen or so special objects in each area that can be investigated and nurtured further. These small irregularities (a beetle squirming on a branch, a mysterious moving bush, a piece of rotten fruit, etc.) are mysteries waiting to be uncovered by the fairies' magical powers of chanting, an ability that consumes magic. These secrets often open up new areas, new abilities, resource bonuses or more mysteries that need to be solved. Assign a worker or two to sing to these objects and see what happens.

One of the more interesting aspects of Avalon is its choice use of mini-games. Harvesting resources can be a slow process that requires very little intervention on your part. What better way to pass the time (and give your harvesting a boost) than to play a game or two? Click on the buildings to start a mini-game (assuming you've unlocked it). Each one lasts only a minute or so and, surprisingly, they're much more than a simple clone of a game you've played a thousand times over. I especially enjoyed the fan-blowing pollen game, and the bonus it provided was even better.

avalon2.jpgAnalysis: Avalon achieves a near-perfect balance between open-ended gameplay, linearity, exploration, and the repetition of tasks. Your chief activity will be deciding how many fairies to allot each job. My normal setup had just a few workers gathering food and pollen while everyone else was off gathering magic. An equal number of fairies were tasked to singing and solving mysteries. Beyond this, however, you have little control over what happens, only the order in which it does. Even though you're walking down a straight path, you've got the freedom to stop and smell the enchanted flowers along the way.

Avalon takes place in real-time, meaning the fairies perform their duties even while you're away. The forced pace is meant to encourage short but frequent spurts of gaming. Avalon isn't as sluggish as, say, Sprouts Adventure, but it felt quite a bit quicker than Virtual Villagers. You'll get many hours of enjoyment out of Avalon, but those hours will be spread across days as you play for short bursts, checking in on your fairies several times each day.

The interface in Avalon is very simple and lets you point, click and assign jobs one fairy at a time. Unfortunately there's no way to select multiple workers at once, and when your community grows to be over a dozen strong, this becomes an issue. Further complicating matters it the fact that fairies usually wander around once they complete a task, meaning you'll have whole groups of workers doing nothing with no way to find them except by scrolling through your entire flock one fairy at a time. There really needs to be a way to select fairies by status, specialty, or group location.

Avalon is an addictive piece of entertainment that lasts a good long time, even if some of that enjoyment is postponed because you're waiting on the fairies to do their thing. Avalon isn't as open-ended as most sims, and the replay value is minimal at best, but the game will enchant you from the start and give you plenty of enjoyment throughout.

WindowsWindows:
Download the demo
Get the full version

Mac OS XMac OS X:
Not available.
Try Boot Camp or Parallels or CrossOver Games.

46 Comments

It's a fantastic game!
Though sadly my Food Stockpile fell short for a bit, and around half my workforce starved! It all was downhill from there.

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When I opened my game today, it said my fairies had run out of food. But they had also switched their jobs around and kept collecting food. None of them died. :)

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Just make sure you train up several collection fairies (the red ones) and they will switch to collecting food if you run out. To train a collection fairy, put one who hasn't got a specialty (the gold ones) on collecting. Eventually they will become an expert and turn red.

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Anonymous June 27, 2009 1:47 PM

I've found the rabbit and the rock at the back of his cave. I have also gotten the snail to tell me to move him closer to the water. I've found everything I an find so far including the mushrooms for light and I've saved the tree.

I cannot read the book at the tree where you turn in the magic for the potions. And I cannot move the rock or the snail. It says I need other magic. I am not finding the in game enchanter singing option, and there's a big rock with blue swirls and moss growing on it that I can do nothing with. Help?

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JIGuest -

Did you sing to both the mushrooms in the rabbit's warren and the blue mushrooms next to the tree? The mushrooms next to the tree (right under the sick branch) need to be glowing bright blue in order for you to be able to read the book that's under there.

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Awesome thanks!

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Makrone Author Profile Page June 27, 2009 5:17 PM

Very beautiful game, ejoyed playing it. Way too short, though.

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miss afrOdite Author Profile Page June 29, 2009 5:53 PM

I'm stuck in the challenge of Freshwater Marshes. I just solved 7 of the 12 mysteries, but now it says I need a magic power to chant the mysteries. I have enchanters, gatherers and researchers. Please help me!

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Miss afrOdite -

Have you:

Found and researched all three books? The third book is hidden behind leaves in the upper left of the tree, below the book that is sitting on the upper left branch. Hover your cursor over that area until it sparkles. Once you've found the location get some fairies to clear the leaves.

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ThemePark Author Profile Page June 30, 2009 4:21 PM

It should be noted that when you quit, you actually get the choice of whether or not your game should run in real time. Thus you have the option to pick up exactly where you left off the last time, even if days have passed.

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Anonymous June 30, 2009 10:45 PM

ive completed the entire game, and only missing one achievement. its in Freshwater Marshes. 1st one on the second row. looks kinda like a flower. everything else is done. i have all spells and such. can anyone help?

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Chantelle July 2, 2009 8:35 AM

The 1st achievement on the 2nd row in the Freshwater Marshes is:

There is a vine above the food storage area. Sing at it and it will become a pretty blue flower.

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AngelSea July 3, 2009 12:49 PM

I have completed all the 12 tasks at tranquil woods, but I have no idea what I need to do after that. Can you help me?

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To AngelSea:

After you awaken the Earth Element, the White Mountains will open up. That's where you play next.

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miss afrOdite Author Profile Page July 6, 2009 2:34 PM

Hi again.
Thank you grinnyp. I've finally finished the freshwater marshes =D
But now I'm stuck on the volcano galleries =/
I've solved the three books and the other mysteries but I've only 9 of the 12 tasks completed... what is the next step??

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Miss afrOdite -

Which 9 tasks have you completed?

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miss afrOdite Author Profile Page July 6, 2009 3:04 PM

the 3 books...the spider web...the jewels near the reproduction garden...the bat...the shiny larves...the armadillo and the water fend...and uncover the statue of the spirit of fire who has lava...

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Miss afrOdite -

Okay, did you uncover the jewels below the spider web? On the right side of the spirit of fire statue is a hotspot, you have to look carefully for it, hover your pointer around that area, it is the root of the fire vine that you uncovered by the larvae. I presume you sang to the armadillo again and he uncovered the statue, correct?

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miss afrOdite Author Profile Page July 6, 2009 5:51 PM

yes i uncovered this jewels i guess...they are purple right?
i have singed to the armadillo and the statue open fends on mouth and eyes that shows lava inside...

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Miss afrOdite -

No, I am talking about the white gems/crystals below the spider web.

The base of the fire vine is sitting very close to the statue of the fire god. You need to sing to it to make it grow that extra inch or two so it can bring heat to the fire god.

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miss afrOdite Author Profile Page July 6, 2009 6:01 PM

i've finish the game =D...
i love games like this one...

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Gezelli Author Profile Page July 6, 2009 6:06 PM

Hey hey

Where do I have to put my fairy to chant in Vulcano Galleries???
I looked everywhere, but can`t find it...

Thanks in advance

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Gezelli -

Which task are you talking about?

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MammaCamilla July 7, 2009 8:33 AM

I have the same problem as Gezelli!

In DISCOVERIES I've got the following trophies:
The 1st, 2nd and 3rd in the upper row
The 1st, 3rd and 4th in the middle row
The 2nd in the lower row

I have searched through every millimeter of the screen and can't find a sparkle anywhere...

Please HELP!

//Camilla in Sweden

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MammaCamilla -

Okay, the tasks you still need to complete:

  1. When the glow worms in the upper right are activated you will see a flower in that area. You need to sing to that flower. screenshot.

  2. Now you need to clear the stream on the far bottom right of the screen. It is a hard hot-spot to find, so here's a screenshot.

  3. Once the stream is flowing you can talk to the armadillo again. Have your fairies sing to him and he will clear the fire god area.

  4. Once the area is clear all you need to do is get heat to the fire symbol. To do that you need to sing to the bottom of the fire vine so that it will grow to attach to the fire god area. Here's the hotspot in a screenshot.

  5. Once the symbol heats up just have your queen fairy go up and sing to it and the fire god awakens.

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grannygamer July 7, 2009 7:40 PM

Hope someone can help me. Most of my faeries are aged4 and their energy levels are all low. Do I need to be concerned and if so how do I remedy that for them?

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Grannygamer -

You don't really need to be concerned, however you can take fairies off of their tasks and let them wander a little, it helps their energy levels. According to the game fairies begin to die at around 5 days, so you may need to grow some more. If your pollen stocks are low use the fairy queen to search out those white flowers that appear in random places in the game. Each one will increase your pollen stocks by about 30.

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only have one of the mysteries on the first level.. don't know exactly what to do now.. the snail wants to go to water and the impatient beetle does what? and how to clean rocks? this game is nice but no instructions on how to complete stuff...

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NM -

You need to move your mouse cursor around and watch for areas that erupt with sparkles, those are usually hot spots where the mysteries are. As for cleaning the rocks, pick a red fairy (if you have any) and put her on cleaning them. Just click on the fairy and then click on the rocks.

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I am in the fresh water marsh. Can anyone tell me were to find the third book? I have done the one up on the branch in the tree and the one on the ground right below the tree. Where is the last one?

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To Tonya:

There is a second book hidden under the leaves in the tree, below and slightly to the right of the first one. You have to sing to the frog before it will become available.

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grannygamer July 9, 2009 3:11 AM

Grinnyp
Thank you for your help. I was just working them into old age I guess.

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How do I heal the rabbit? and move the snail..

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nm -

You just need to have your fairies sing to them. However, you need to have researched all three of the magical books. Have you researched the book under the tree yet?

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Miggity July 13, 2009 3:27 PM

Hey everyone, I am trying to figure out one of the discoveries in Tranquil Woods it looks like a tree and it is the second one on the second line if you look at the discoveries list. Thanks for any help you can be. I will keep searching as I'm sure its there somewhere.

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Miggity -

That one is healing the tree. Look at the tree on the far right where the potions lab is. You will notice the branch above the potions lab has some sort of infection. Put one of your research fairies on it to research and then one of your enchanters to do the healing.

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Jennos6 July 14, 2009 3:39 PM

Hi, can anyone help me with the freshwater marshes? I'm stuck with the fourth discovery on the end of the first line. Looks like a lizard. Thanks.

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Jennos6 -

Look underneath the laboratory where they take potion ingredients. There is a large pile of twigs there. Have a gathering fairy clean away the twigs and you will see an egg. Have an enchanter sing to the egg and it will hatch.

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Jennos6 July 14, 2009 5:08 PM

Thank you, grinnyp.

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woodscat August 2, 2009 3:20 PM

How in the heck do the fairies get to be enchanters ? I'm in the White Mountains and have not seen a blue fairy all the way through the tranquil woods or here. I have played the singing mini game

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Woodscat -

To get an enchanter place a newly born (undefined) fairy on a task that requires enchanting. When you assign a fairy to a task you will see the "hook" in front of them turn a certain color, red for moving or cleaning tasks, green for research tasks, or blue for singing tasks. Having a new fairy on a red task eventually turns them red (gatherer). Putting a new fairy on a green task eventually turns them green (researcher). And putting a new fairy on a blue task eventually turns them blue (enchanter).

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Thanks Miss afrOdite! I was stuck in the same spot, thought I had combed over everything. Guess I hadn't. =P

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I've finished all of the 12 tasks for Tranquil Woods but seem to be stuck. I woke the earth element and no white mountains has opened up. I have checked back and forth at the island map to see if anything opened up. HELP!!!

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Ceridwen May 25, 2010 5:55 AM

I hope somebody still reads this...
I'm stuck at the very first level, the tranquil woods. I have finished all but the last task. I assumed the last task was waking the Earth element, but whenever I try sending my fairy queen there I'm told that there are too many fairies working there. So I went about looking whether there is another task to do, but I just can't find anything.
Please help!

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I am at the White Mountains and my pollen flower stopped producing pollen after the humming bird came. I can't make any more fairies. Is this a puzzle or a glitch in the game?

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