The tin Soldier
When I say The tin Soldier, you might be inclined to think about Hans Christian Andersen's sentimental story fairy-tale. In which case, you might be caught a little off guard by Alejandro Iglesias's queerly creepy and melancholic little point-and-click rendition of the tale. Emerging from his box, our one-legged hero discovers that his fellow toys are being menaced by a twisted jack-in-the-box. To put things right and rescue his lady-fair, he'll have to confront the villain... after a few unintentional detours.
The game is played with the mouse. When the cursor changes to a hand, it means you can interact with something. Click and hold on the arrows at either side of the screen, and the soldier will hop in that direction until something stops him. To use an item, simply drag it from your inventory at the top of the screen and it will snap into place when you move it over the correct spot. Characters communicate using speech bubbles with visual interpretations of words, but figuring out what each person wants is usually fairly straightforward.
Analysis: Playing The tin Soldier is a bit like having a bedtime story read to you by Tim Burton circa Stainboy era. Weird, cool, and just a bit creepy, the game doesn't possess any real violence or scares, but the overall sense of gloom that hangs over toydom might be too upsetting for some younger children. Adults, by turn, might wish the story took a bit more liberties with its source material; despite the look and feel, it's actually a fairly faithful retelling of the original story, and it would have been nice to see creator Alejandro Iglesias explore the darker side of things a bit more since the art and sound were clearly up to the job.
Unfortunately, the game is bogged down by some awkward mouse-movement controls and a little too much clicking. There's also very little help given towards some of the frequently bizarre puzzles that may frustrate some players. A section where you have to rewire a fish's brain using jellyfish tentacles stands out as being one of the biggest trial-and-error offenders, despite being fairly creative. As such, the game winds up feeling like it's leaning more on its overall sense of style than its gameplay.
The ending feels a little abrupt, and you'll probably wish it had been a bit longer, too. As it stands, The tin Soldier will probably run you a little under half an hour, and it's definitely worth a spin if you're looking for something a little bit different.