The Pretender: Part 3
Someone once said that pride goeth before a fall, but apparently it also goeth before sucking your entire hapless audience into another magical dimension and dooming them to wander as restless souls. Whoopsie! In the The Pretender: Part 3, the next installment in Launching Pad Games' puzzle platforming Pretender series, you, as the desperate Victorian stage magician who stumbled upon a real book of magic while trying to spice up your act, are still trying to put things right and rescue stranded souls. Of course, just because you have the elements at your disposal doesn't mean this is going to be a walk in the interdimensional park, since you've got your assistant, Eliza, to worry about protecting, and an old sorcerer
In order to move through a portal to the next level, you'll need to gather the ghostly people loitering around the environment; they'll follow you one at a time when you get close to them, and then you can lead them to the exit. Of course, like any magician you've got a few tricks up your sleeve, and to get around the obstacles in each area you can walk over elemental fonts spurting up from the ground that will imbue you with new abilities and a special form. Earth, for example, lets you smash stone or stride through fire, while water can quench flame and allow you to swim. Use the [arrow] keys to move around, [R] to restart if you get stuck, and the [spacebar] to skip dialogue or use your elemental power. The game is made up of four sets of levels, each taking place in a different location, and you need to complete four non-story stages in one area to unlock the next. Other people might tell you not to play with fire, but when you're stranded in another world anything goes, so feel free to take advantage of the new elements and abilities you'll find here.
If you've played the previous installments, then a lot about act three is going to feel very familiar to you. The Pretender series has always managed to feel like a particularly classy little game, and this latest is no different, with a mellow ambient soundtrack and sleek visual style that make it look and feel professional. The puzzles become elaborate fairly quickly, so the ability to play the levels in any order you wish is welcome since it lets you bounce around whenever you get stymied. It would be nice to have an "undo" button rather than having to restart an entire stage if you accidentally zig when you should have zagged. Still, a sense of charm, whimsy, and elemental magic will get you far, and The Pretender: Part 3 has all of that in spades. Will you and Eliza ever find your way back to the real world, or will you be doomed to an eternity of performing hat tricks for disgruntled ghosts? Only one way to find out!