Gobliins 2: The Prince Buffoon
First posted on 23 February 2010. Last updated on 17 May 2010.
If you assume that, like its predecessor, Gobliins 2: The Prince Buffoon allows you to control one character for each "i" in the word "Gobliins", you will be absolutely correct. If you think that having one less character to control makes the game considerably easier, however, you will be sadly mistaken.
In Gobliins 2: The Prince Buffoon, you learn that the son of King Angoulafre has been kidnapped by a demon named Amoniak. This diabolical creature now holds the prince captive in a castle overrun with demons, with its rightful ruler also being imprisoned within its walls. Modemus the wise man (a character who, interestingly, is only named in the game manual) sends 2 imps (or Gobliins) named Fingus and Winkle to rescue the young prince. Your task is to help Fingus and Winkle to travel to the castle and complete the rescue.
Gobliins 2: The Prince Buffoon is almost identical to the original Gobliiins in terms of graphics, music, and storyline. However, many of the flaws in Gobliiins have thankfully been corrected in this sequel: there is no longer an energy meter to worry about, you can carry multiple objects at a time, and the game's various hotspots are now labeled (so that if you move your cursor over a hotspot, a description will appear at the bottom of the screen). Best of all, you can now save and restore games. Yet, despite all these improvements, this game is still considerably challenging, and it is going to take all of your patience and brainpower to help Fingus and Winkle to complete their mission.
The imps whom you control in this game are quite different than those in the previous game—not only in abilities, but personalities as well. The red-haired Fingus is polite, intelligent and rational, while the blue-skinned Winkle is mischievous, athletic, and often somewhat foolish. Because of these character differences, Fingus and Winkle will have different interactions with their surroundings, and sometimes vice versa. For instance, if Fingus interacts with a patch of wilted flowers, he will pick a flower, notice its poor quality, and discard it, while Winkle will pick a flower and then eat it. Sometimes, there is no way to predict how the imps will behave, however—if you interact with a panel with 2 buttons on it, Fingus will always press the button on the left, while Winkle will always press the button on the right, even when each button is for a completely different purpose.
The game is divided up into sections that need to be solved in sequence in order to progress in the game. Unlike Gobliiins, each section can include as many as 3 different scenes, and each scene is teeming with puzzles to be solved. Many of the puzzles involve Fingus and Winkle working together, and a lot of them require precise timing to be solved (an example is a puzzle that involves Winkle distracting 2 men while Fingus quickly snatches their belongings). However, the majority of puzzles in this game rely on observing what happens when Fingus or Winkle interact with a certain person or hotspot, then figuring out how that action can work to your advantage.
The game's interface includes a single cursor: left clicking will make the imp you have selected walk to where you have clicked (or to interact with a hotspot if you have clicked on it), while right clicking will bring up the inventory. There is an icon bar at the top of the screen with buttons that allow you to save, restore or quit, take notes for future reference, bring up your inventory, switch between the 2 imps (though this can also be done just by clicking on either of them), or jump to an adjacent screen. There is also a Joker icon, which gives you hints for the screen you are currently in when you click on it—however, you only have a limited number of Jokers, so you must use them wisely.
The game's graphics are unique and memorable, and so are the various locales. Fingus and Winkle travel from a surreal, colorful land filled with whimsical musicians to a village of tiny people built on the branches of a single, leafless tree. The animations are plentiful and entertaining, and Fingus and Winkle certainly are not the type of imps that stand motionless for very long. Fingus will occasionally whistle a brief tune, and Winkle will flip a coin. When either of them gets into trouble, the other will laugh at his misfortune—of course, it is all in good fun. Clicking an inventory item on either of them will make the selected imp take out the item and interact with it. Naturally, Fingus and Winkle will usually interact with the same object differently.
The game is released in both Floppy Disk and CD-ROM versions. The CD-ROM version includes voices throughout the entire game. The voice acting is enjoyable at times, but occasionally it is difficult to understand some characters, and Fingus' high-pitched lisp may become annoying after a while. Most of the music in the CD-ROM version is the same music from Gobliiins, but it still is pleasant to listen to while playing the game.
Overall, Gobliins 2: The Prince Buffoon is a worthy successor to Gobliiins. Despite giving you control of only 2 characters instead of 3, the game still offers plenty of challenging and occasionally frustrating puzzles. The hilarious Fingus and Winkle, the wacky worlds they explore, and the bizarre characters they meet all help to make the adventure a memorable experience, and you may just find yourself replaying this game over and over again just to see what you may have missed.