All Features


  PlayStation 3
  PlayStation 4
  Wii U
  Xbox 360
  Xbox One


Hans Christian Anderson: The Ugly Prince Duckling

Score: 78%
ESRB: Everyone
Publisher: The Adventure Company
Developer: Guppy Works
Media: CD/2
Players: 1
Genre: Adventure

Graphics & Sound:

The Ugly Prince Duckling is one of those adventure titles that has more good than bad, but overall feels a bit average. Visually, the characters and environments all have an exaggerated and fairytale feel to them. The overweight people are very overweight, the poor look really poor and the various parts of the town all seem to fit their respective titles (i.e. the Poor Square is run down, the Artisan Square is a bit more sophisticated and the palace is luxurious). And while the game has dozens of different characters and animals, their animations are a bit too stiff and don't really flow from one sequence to another.

The voice acting isn't bad. It never really felt phoned in, just a bit rough. The background music had a pleasant, sing-song quality to it and seemed to fit pretty well with the game's fairytale theme.


At first, I felt like The Ugly Prince Duckling was pretty straightforward. I never found myself wondering what I should do next, and once you get past the first couple of hurdles, you always have two or three tasks queued up. This made it easy to plan ahead and know what you had to do once you got past the most immediate task. For instance, at one point, you need to get out of your beggar's clothes, but the tailor doesn't know where his assistant is. You are also looking for work, but he won't hire you unless you are referenced by a respectable citizen. Thankfully, you helped out a local student earlier in the game and you just need to find him to get you a job as the tailor's assistant, so you can get some new clothes.

Unfortunately, this is where The Ugly Prince Duckling also has some problems. You know you need to find the student, and everyone around you is telling you he is looking for you. One person even tells you where his house is. The problem comes in finding his house. I'm trying to not get into details that will ruin the gameplay, so suffice it to say that it took a while to work out the extra steps I needed to go through before completing that series of objectives.

So what is the story behind The Ugly Prince Duckling? It's a story of trolls, goblins, witches, princes and princesses. The game is narrated by Hans Christian Anderson as he tells the story of a young man trying to become an actor who wanders into a town that has come under dark times. It seems that our hero (named Hans Christian Anderson, oddly enough) must stop an evil troll from taking the princess and marrying her. Along the way, Anderson will have to avoid cops (at least until he looks a bit more respectable), and join up with witches and goblins to save the princess and fulfill his destiny.


Adventure fans should be able to make steady headway on The Ugly Prince Duckling. However, there will be the occasional bump that could leave you putting the game away for a few hours or days (much like finding the student did for me). This is to be expected in any adventure title, but it seemed like the tougher parts of this game were rarely trying to figure out a puzzle, but figuring out one of the pieces that lead up to the puzzle and that's when it gets aggravating.

All in all, The Ugly Prince Duckling has about an average difficulty and unless you are pretty new at this genre, you should be able to make steady headway throughout the entire game with only a few pitfalls.

Game Mechanics:

The Ugly Prince Duckling's controls have only a few differences that set it apart from most point-and-click adventure titles. One difference is how you select items from your inventory to use on objects in the world. In most games like this, you bring up your inventory, click on the item you want to use and click on the object you want to use it with. Here, your inventory appears in the upper right corner of the screen and you only see three items. You use your mouse's wheel to scroll through the items and when the one you want to use is front and center, you click on the object you are trying to use it with. This makes it easy to cycle through your inventory and see if there is something you can use on an object, because you can just hover over the object and spin your wheel to see if your icon switches to the Use symbol.

The other difference would have to be walking. You can just click on some part of the environment that you want to walk to, but you can also hold down on the mouse button and guide your character where you want him to go. In the line between your character and the location you've clicked displays, you see a series of dots. If all of the dots are yellow, then there is a clear path between the character and the location. However, if there is something in the way, all of the dots after that obstacle turn red. Since you can hold down the button and continue to guide him, you can maneuver your character around the obstacles as he walks. It takes a little getting used to, especially if you have been using the standard point-and-click format for years, but once you get the hang of it, it is just as easy.

The Ugly Prince Duckling isn't a bad game for fans of the genre looking for some new puzzles. The storyline is pretty good (as far as fairytales are concerned) and the puzzles seem to be an even blend of obvious actions and frustrating predicaments. Fans of the genre should seriously consider looking into this title, while anyone else should probably steer clear.

-J.R. Nip, GameVortex Communications
AKA Chris Meyer

Minimum System Requirements:

Windows 2000, XP, Vista, 1.6 GHz Pentium 4 or AMD Semperon 2800+ processor, 512 MB RAM, Windows compatible sound card, 8x or better CD-ROM, 1.4 GB Hard Drive space, 128 MB Shader Model 1.1 and DirectX 9.0 compatible video card, DirectX 9.0c (included)

Test System:

Alienware Aurora m9700 Laptop, Windows XP Professional, AMD Turion 64 Mobile 2.41 GHz, 2 GB Ram, Duel NVIDIA GeForce Go 7900 GS 256MB Video Cards, DirectX 9.0c

Sony PlayStation Portable Valhalla Knights Nintendo Wii Tiger Woods PGA Tour 07

Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated