Palace Games – Emerald Palace [Hivemind Review]

Emerald Palace is a point-and-click adventure game created by Palace Games in San Francisco, CA.

An old treasure map with a few markings including an X, compass rose, a mallet, and a carrot. It is labled, "Don't worry, be mappy."

Format

Style of Play:

  • Online native experience (can NOT be played IRL)
  • Play on demand
  • Point-and-click

Required Equipment: computer with internet connection, pen and paper also recommended

Recommended Team Size: 3-4

Play Time: about 90 minutes

Price: $20 per player for an unlimited number of players, playing in multiple teams with a shared leaderboard; also available in “Standard Team” pricing of a $28 flat team fee for 2-5 players, one team maximum per game.

Booking: purchase and play at your leisure

Description

The is the latest game in the Jewel Palace series following Palace of Destiny, Ruby Palace, and Sapphire Palace.

You log into a web environment where you navigate through a series of collaborative point-and-click puzzles. Each teammate typically works on one part of a collaborative solve.

If you’re in different households, you should connect with your teammates through Zoom, Discord, or another video conferencing platform. If you’re in the same household, each player will need their own computer.

A photo of an old tunnel with a blue door at the end, a puzzle mounted on it. The image is labeled, "Tunnel Vision."

Kate Wastl’s Reaction

The Emerald Palace is a whimsical and lighthearted continuation of the Jewel Palace series by Palace Games, leading our team through a series of puzzles that let us interact with a variety of small woodland creatures. While there is certainly variety in puzzle types, The Emerald Palace heavily relies on introducing a few game mechanics, and then doubling down on the difficulty of those same mechanics as you progress through the experience. One fairly consistent theme throughout the game is puzzling via the physical manipulation of elements given constraints, and it will be a fair challenge for those who have difficulty visualizing solutions. Optimized for four players, this game can be smoothly tackled by three, and is certainly recommended for those looking to puzzle with friends via Zoom.

Joel Smileypeacefun Reaction

We were venturing in a garden setting that felt somewhat reminiscent of the magical garden in Alice in Wonderland. On our way, we were looking for a wonderful gem.

At its best, this online game was very tech-heavy and highly interactive, with the creativity of those interactions being through the roof. The puzzle design felt like you’re achieving levels a on a nicely created raising difficulty curve.

At its worst, the login process for the game seemed unnecessarily complicated. As for the gameplay, sadly, it was mostly pretty easy to figure out what to do, so the tasks quickly became more about actually doing it rather than figuring out puzzles. Also, the final puzzle definitely overstayed its welcome.

This game can be played with large numbers of people splitting into smaller groups. Just a heads up though: quite a few puzzles seemed to be created for an even number of players. They were all still solvable, but being a group of 3 felt like a disadvantage.

Fro’s Reaction

Like the previously released Jewel Palace games, Emerald Palace was a beautiful and fanciful self-contained world. I found Emerald Palace to have the lowest degree of difficulty in the Jewel Palace series, with gameplay relying less on difficult puzzling and more on communication with your teammates to maneuver within and manipulate items within the world. Some of these interactions were incredibly satisfying and even delightful. Others took some getting used to and I can see them becoming frustrating for some players. The artwork, including the story’s woodland critter characters, was a sensorial treat, and I particularly enjoyed the song-themed word play sprinkled throughout the experience.

New players will likely find this one an approachable challenge, and there’s plenty here too for experienced players looking for a little fun.

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