Every once in a while, a completely refreshing game lands in the Play Store. The key word in the previous sentence is lands. Primarily because that is what the main character, The Sleeping Prince, accomplishes in the game. He ends up landing on platforms, beds, bouncing plants, and a cadre of other places to help his kingdom. With excellent ragdoll physics, Signal Studios, the game developer, with partner Tilting Point, have created a lush world for this puzzle/platformer to succeed in many ways. The Sleeping Prince is now available to download in the Play Store and the Amazon App Store, and it shouldn’t be missed.
Update: April 17th, 2015 9:31am PST: The Sleeping Prince is now officially a premium game. You can now download this game for $1.99 and there are no IAPs at all. We’ve updated the Google Play link at the end of this article to the new premium version.
Signal Studios is based is based in Seattle. They create games for consoles, PC and mobile platforms. Previous titles that they have created that you may be familiar with are Toy Soldiers and Ascend: Hand of Kul. Their most recent title, The Sleeping Prince, is a wonderful melange of platforming and puzzle elements. In the opening sequence of the game, you find out from the Great Wizard Plushkin of the Cloudreach Kingdom, who is as communicative as Charlie Brown’s teacher, that the whole kingdom is under an evil spell by Sydney Slime. Everyone is asleep in a peaceful slumber. The spell has not affected the wizard, so he enlists your help, so that you can aid the kingdom, and save Princess Leona. There is just one catch… you are asleep too.
The game tutorial is simple, much like the controls. However, successfully mastering the controls, will take a little bit of effort. In the game you are collecting gems and stars to aid you in your quest. Obtaining the gems and stars is accomplished by swiping the Prince in the direction you need him to move. Short swipes move him shorter distances, while long swipes are used for larger jumps. You also have the option in some places, where you are required to hold the Prince in place, so that you can completely control his movement, instead of sending him flailing in a certain direction. Have I mentioned that the ragdoll physics are excellent? It gets a little tricky sometimes because your swipe can do so much, but you have to plan it. At times, you hope your swipe will allow your character to make the perfect arc, or land on a particular platform. I am impressed by the controls. They work well and are efficient in their implementation. The challenge is trying not to overshoot an area with the length of your swipe. What can also be a little frustrating, is getting stuck, bouncing between platforms. It feels like you are locked in a cycle, as you are watching your expected time to complete the level drain away.
“Throw the Sleeping Prince around to explore the castle, towers and gardens. Attack dangerous enemies, avoid deadly traps, and solve clever puzzles. Enjoy smooth and intuitive physics-based gameplay.” Signal Studios/Tilting Point
Each level has three goals that must be met. If you accomplish all of the goals, you get a gold medal, two goals, silver medal and one goal, bronze medal. The goals to fulfill are: finishing the level in under a certain amount of time, collecting the three stars on the level, and picking up the required number of gems. It all seems easy, until you realize that those stars can be hidden in some pretty tricky places. The game design in the levels are uncommon, as well as the apparatuses that are used to help you navigate the level. There are beds, stretched fabric, plants, hooks and other items, to help the Sleeping Prince get from one area to another. Power-ups become available as you play through the game… and they really help. There are 40 levels for you to conquer. Obtaining gold and silver medals help unlock later levels/areas.
The art in the game is impressive. Between the unique level design and the graphics, Signal Studios has created an atmosphere that is lush and royal. There is a great amount of detail in the artwork, and it enhances, what is a really fun and challenging game to play. The music, which was created by Barry Dowsett of Soundrangers, accompanies the Sleeping Prince’s journey throughout the levels. You can tell the collaboration between the composer and the design team was a successful one.
The Sleeping Prince is integrated with Google Game Play Services with 28 achievements to unlock and leaderboards. What is a little bit curious, is that there appears to be no cloud saving implemented at this time. I played a few levels on my phone, and then went to play the game on my tablet, and I was right back at the beginning of the game. It is not a big problem, but definitely something you should be aware of, if you like to go between your devices like I do. Also, this is something that probably shouldn’t be too difficult to implement, since the game is already using Google Game Play Services. Granted, the game just came out yesterday, so an update could already be in the works. The other thing that is a little bit weird, is that once you finish a level, it takes you back to the first splash screen, so you have to hit play again, and then pick the level you want to play. I am not sure why that occurs, it just seemed a little odd, and delayed me from getting back into the action more quickly.
In an interesting twist, The Sleeping Prince will be free-to-play for the month of December. After that, it will be switching over to a Premium Paid app. It seems that when the game was released on iOS earlier this year, the feedback the game community provided was positive, but they did not like the energy system and in-app purchases that launched with the game. The game community felt it hampered the game play experience. Kudos to Signal Studios and Tilting Point for listening to the gaming community, to help make their product better. I am not sure how all of this will be implemented in the Play Store, but now is the perfect time to give the game a try.
There are a lot of physics-based puzzler/platformers in the Play Store. However, The Sleeping Prince is successful in the implementation of its controls, the unique game play/mechanics (Un-Angry Birds like projectile-based tossing in some ways), great graphics, music, puzzles and platforming. I’m glad to see it in the Play Store, and will continue to enjoy playing it. The other nice thing about the game, is that it is simple enough to be played by younger children, and challenging enough to hold the attention of more seasoned gamers. Since the game is completely free to download for the month of December, with no in-app purchases whatsoever, now is the time to check it out. Though we don’t know what the premium price will be when it switches over, the game’s high production value and upper tier levels of fun, would definitely warrant a purchase at a reasonable price point when it switches to being a premium paid app.
Amazon App Store: The Sleeping Prince