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Mia and the Dragon Princess – Review

After the impressive “Ten Dates” back in February, developers Wales Interactive return with another interactive movie for gamers to choose their own adventures, it’s like those books I had as a kid without the hassle of having to find the right page at the back of the book, to continue the story.

This storyline is based around a story of Marshanda hundreds of years ago, who ended up beside a famous Pirate called Kat the Red, and while the two of them ruled the waves, they were inevitably separated. To keep save, Marshanda head north to the ice regions to avoid capture, accompanied by a special wrist device Kat gave her to help them reunite once the danger had subsided.

Sure enough Kat survived, and head to London where she would wait day and night for her friend to appear, but Marshanda ended up a little stuck on the ice, only to resurface, fit, healthy and wearing a hospital gown hundreds of years later.

Thankfully that trusty wrist device is still working so Marshanda eventually finds her way to a small bar under the Dragon Princess restaurant.

It’s not perfectly delivered, but the long story is the restaurant owner Mt Walsh *played by actor Paul Mcgann – the old guy who was in Dr Who) – Walsh is trying to buy-out the downstairs bar, due to some coincidental links to his ancestors and pirates, and sure enough our protagonist Mia, just so happens to work at that bar, and finds the fleeing Marshanda on the same day Walsh (Mcgann) is trying to enforce his hostile takeover.

As with many Interactive FMV games, there’s plenty of ways the story can play out, with a number of good and bad endings, my first play-through was disappointingly short at about 40 minutes, but future playthroughs, provided far more backstory and almost double the available story as the situation evolved beyond the mostly single-area of that downstairs bar.

After 2-3 play-throughs and a total of little more than 2 hours, you’ve generally got the gist of every possible storyline, even if you haven’t seen every scene. I continued working through the story, trying to find every available scene and ending, and I’m certain I’ve missed one, but frustration set in when you’re playing the same 2/3rds of the game again and again trying to find a single scene with little help from the storyline which had otherwise proved quite helpful.

Thankfully when replaying the game if you come across a scene and choice you’ve already selected, you can skip to the next decision using RB, Unfortunately, I found myself using this far too much, which kind of takes the fun away from repeated playthroughs, but while games like Ten Dates seem to offer a much wider variation of possibilities, I found Mia and the Dragon Princess has a single backbone storyline which goes one way or the other dependent on a pretty mundane central decision, from that there’s then a few off-shoots, but these neatly all, ultimately just bring you straight back to a part of the story, you’ve already seen multiple times.

Interactive films are never deep on gameplay, the tried and tested method of watching a few minutes of a film, then selecting a choice and hitting confirm to decide what scene is shown next has worked well time and time again, but the heart of these games rest more within the storyline and the overall acting quality.

Sadly, it’s not great news, because while I never head into these games expecting blockbuster movies, the acting is often of a high enough standard where it makes it even more entertaining.
With Mia and the Dragon Princess, it’s difficult to know where to start, some scenes feel like a pretty direct-action thriller, others play out more like a history lesson and then you get a random scene that feels more like a cheap comedy movie.
The real shame is, there’s a lack of balance with throws these more lighthearted scenes in completely the wrong places.

There’s then the overall storyline, with isn’t bad, but it’s safe to say, if Kat’s ship had as many holes as this plot, neither Kat or Marshanda would have lasted five minutes, and while some of the acting is great (mostly from characters you maybe wouldn’t expect) I found some of the main characters where really hit and miss, both in the acting and the writing, which is a little disappointing when they’ve got a pretty well-known name in Paul McGann, but I have to say from the main characters, I enjoyed his acting the least.

I’m all for the branches of a story taking the adventure into new areas, but It feels cheap and badly placed, when those new areas bring you back to that aforementioned main backbone), such as one area when “Police are on their way” which plays out a scene within a few minutes, but on the next playthrough, you’ve had chance to pop out for a chat and a piece of cake, to return to the pile of trouble that’s just sat on pause while you’ve been enjoying some sightseeing and pineapple upside down cake.

I have enjoyed playing through Mia and the Dragon Princess, but that enjoyment wained a little too soon (about 2 hours of gameplay) with the next 2-3 hours really feeling like a chore retreading the same ground, looking for a handful of scenes.
Combined with the fact I just didn’t enjoy the overall storyline, the quality of acting or the way decisions reflected within the game. Looking back at 10 Dates in February, it felt like the genre had actually taken quite a step forward in presentation, acting quality, storyline and most of all the enjoyment of multiple playthroughs, but Mia and the Dragon Princess sadly feels like a step backwards, and it’s closer to the presentation and quality of some of Wales Interactive’s older games like Late Shift and The Bunker, which while great in their own way, just weren’t up to the same standards of titles like The Complex or Ten Dates.

Mia and the Dragon Princess proves to be a perfectly suitable interactive movie, but it’s just not as quality or engaging as we’ve come to expect from Wales Interactive.

Mia and the Dragon Princess

Review by Lee Palmer



Mia and the Dragon Princess proves to be a perfectly suitable interactive movie, but it’s just not as quality or engaging as we’ve come to expect from Wales Interactive.


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