The Mysteries of May: The Secret of Dragonville Review

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The Mysteries of May: The Secret of Dragonville first saw the light of day in 2011 for the Nintendo DS, perhaps as a bit of competition for Professor Layton’s hugely popular games. For reasons unknown, a decade later, May’s mysterious adventure in Dragonville received a console port. While you can never have too many puzzle games on the market, would it have been better to leave this one in the past, or will it stand the test of time?

If you take May’s Mysteries: The Secret of Dragonville at face value, it sounds like a puzzle fanatic’s dream as it features an adventure that contains over 270 mini-games. As someone who loves a good puzzle, it seems like I’m the target audience and the prospect of putting my problem-solving skills to the test is exciting. In fact, May’s Mysteries: The Secret of Dragonville is showing its age and has been ported to console with a number of issues.

At the heart of May’s Mysteries: The Secret of Dragonville is a story involving May and her brother Terry (or maybe Tery, depending on the subtitles), who decide to take a hot air balloon ride from their Balloonville home. However, everything goes wrong as the hot air balloon crashes in a rather comical fashion and May separates from her brother. Where did he end up? Is he still alive? It’s the mystery as his search begins at the gates of Dragonville.

Story-wise, it relies mostly on a dash of silly humor and the introduction of bizarre characters like the anthropomorphic amnesiacs at the local zoo, instead of interesting dialogue. This means that you probably won’t care at all about the events that unfold, or who the protagonist is. That’s good, unlike sporadic animated cutscenes which barely fill half the screen and suffer from screen tearing frequently. The voiceovers are of subpar audio quality and generally sound lackluster here, too. Sure, it’s old, but you’d always expect better, and text dialogue interactions prove to be a much more viable method of presenting the narrative.

Let’s be honest, the story is just a simple tool to tie together the gigantic amount of puzzles inside; each character apparently wants to trick May or use her innate ability to find the solution to her own problematic puzzles. While there are over 270 mini-games in total, more than half of them are optional bonus puzzles and I will explain their usefulness in due course. The issues you need to overcome in order to progress and acquire items to advance in the adventure are plentiful, with a decent amount of variety. Some are very good, some are pretty bad, and some just don’t make sense.

Among the most entertaining mini-games are those in which you measure exact volumes of liquid using jars of different sizes, work out number sequences, connect pairs of objects without overlapping other pairs, divide areas in equal portions and create images through a minesweeper style system. They definitely put several sections of your brain to the test. Hidden object scenes can be good as well, but the items to find are sometimes in areas where the lighting is not ideal and therefore it is very easy to get frustrated.

This is nothing compared to the frustration caused by pounding activities. If you like Guitar Hero, Black-smith or Dance Dance Revolution, and have musical bones, then you are absolutely going to hate the nearly impossible rhythmic offerings here. Even after practicing through a tutorial a few times, the visual cues seem out of sync with when you’re supposed to interact. If you miss a few correct button presses, the brutal docking of points to an incorrect point will ruin you mentally.

Other, more interactive mini-games are just as bad, and the solutions require a level of precision that is simply unnecessary. There are times when you have to maneuver shapes, boards, and matches in specific places. Firstly, it is very difficult to try to neatly place them in the position you want, but secondly, if you are a little outside of what he wants, you will fail and have to start the puzzle over from scratch.

The only other set of puzzles that seek to blow your mind are the most logical puzzles and cases. Maybe I’m at fault sometimes, for not carefully reading the puzzle instructions which often contain the clues, but there are times when the answer doesn’t make sense once discovered. Whether it’s a poorly worded question or just too complex, I’m not sure. What I’m sure is the stupid keyboard constantly pops up and covers a lot of the screen while trying to move the cursor.

Truth be told, some minigames are unbearable and would cause a lot of people to give up pretty quickly. This is why bonus puzzles are the savior, as completing them earns you points to use for tricks or for skipping a mini-game completely. You can choose any of the types you like and not worry too much about the nightmarish types aimed at stopping your progress.

However, there is no such fix for two of the more apparent technical flaws, with currently broken achievements and the backup system experiencing some hiccups. The latter is obviously the most worrying issue, causing me to lose some of my progress after each game session. It is supposed to save automatically, but on a particular reload, I had to redo eight puzzles. and it’s really painful.

Overall, May’s Mysteries: The Secret of Dragonville puts every egg in that puzzle basket and ultimately fails to deliver. The story is good, the amount of minigames is commendable, and there is some joy to be had from some guys, but the positives are outweighed by the negatives. The cutscenes give up, many mini-games lead to frustration, and the margin for error is unforgivable. And that’s before you take into account that you can’t even trust the backup system.

Do yourself a favor and save your money for another puzzle!

The Mysteries of May: The Secret of Dragonville is available now via the Xbox Store

May’s Mysteries: The Secret of Dragonville first saw the light in 2011 on Nintendo DS, perhaps as a bit of competition for the hugely popular Professor Layton games. For reasons unknown, a decade later, May’s mysterious adventure in Dragonville received a console port. While you can never have too many puzzle games on the market, would it have been better to leave this one in the past, or will it stand the test of time? If you take May’s Mysteries: The Secret of Dragonville at face value, that would seem like a puzzle fanatic’s dream because…

The Mysteries of May: The Secret of Dragonville Review

The Mysteries of May: The Secret of Dragonville Review

2021-10-08

James birks





Advantages:

  • Mini-games galore
  • Bonus puzzles are a saving grace

The inconvenients:

  • Rhythmic games
  • Too many puzzles cause frustration
  • Visually outdated and the cutscenes are terrible
  • Automatic backup is unreliable

Info:

  • Thank you very much for the free copy of the game go to – Klabater
  • Formats – Xbox Series X | S, Xbox One, PS5, PS4, Switch
  • Version Reviewed – Xbox One on Xbox Series X
  • Release date – September 23, 2021
  • Introductory price from – £ 12.49


TXH Score

2/5

Advantages:

  • Mini-games galore
  • Bonus puzzles are a saving grace

The inconvenients:

  • Rhythmic games
  • Too many puzzles cause frustration
  • Visually outdated and the cutscenes are terrible
  • Automatic backup is unreliable

Info:

  • Thank you very much for the free copy of the game go to – Klabater
  • Formats – Xbox Series X | S, Xbox One, PS5, PS4, Switch
  • Version Reviewed – Xbox One on Xbox Series X
  • Release date – September 23, 2021
  • Introductory price from – £ 12.49

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