I wanted to save this review until I found something really worthwhile to use it on, and man was this worthwhile.
First off let me express how impressive the narrative was, your ability to tell a story using only mannerisms is incredible, and the aspects of symbolism at play here are magnificent.
Despite the lack of spoken dialect, the main characters are both affable, and interesting with their own quirky personas, it's amazing what you've managed to pull off without language.
The game is violent, and captures the true nature of what fairly tales were meant for, which was to serve as cautionary satirical stories about the capricious and dangerous nature of the world. That said none of the violence really seems out of place within the context of the narrative, and although at times the violence can be humorous, it never comes off as patronizing to your audience.
The wonderful art style, and animation makes this submission stand out, I love the simple yet beautiful "watercolor" backgrounds, and the character design is unique, I feel as though I'm playing through a Russian fable.
The audio and sound effects all compliment the submission perfectly, and the music composers, and sound designers all definitely deserve major kudos.
Speaking about the gameplay now, I must say I'm impressed by all the puzzles and side quests the designer managed to work into the game. None of them seemed half assed or unwarranted, and all of them seemed to play into the themes of the game or add to the overall mythology, sometimes doing both in tandem.
The controls themselves were so easy to pick up and play I feel even someone with no understanding of video games could dive right in.
The actionscripting was pretty flawless, and the games autosave feature is something so useful I don't understand why it hasn't become standard practice in the flash game development community, the programmer is certainly of a high ilk and should be commended for his work on this project.
All the additional content such as the bonus hats, and different medals and endings (especially that quixotic robot ending), add to the replay value, whilst also conveying the amount of time that went into this games development.
I've often contemplated what makes an "adult" game (that is a game that would appeal to adults, not speaking in terms of the "pornographic"), and I feel this would stand as an excellent example.
The three things that I feel would make a game appeal to adults are accessible controls, intelligent design, and a mature narrative.
Your game capturers all of this and makes it into something unique and rare, a professional product that manages to transcend the cliche conventions of the genre and stand on its own merit as an exemplification of "fine art" in the realm of flash game design.
I can see why you were nominated for the tank awards, and with upmost sincerity I hope you and you're staff wins, this anthology of games you building is amongst the most noble uses of flash I've ever seen.
I feel once complete your saga will serve to garner more respect for videogames as a whole, something that the industry in this era of hypocrisy and aggressive critical opinion hurled at the craft from opportunistic charlatans is in dire need of.
It was a privilege to play something so deep, well rounded, and rich in substance. I'm eagerly awaiting the finale of your trilogy so I can view your saga as a whole, if this submission and the one prior serve as a prognostication of things to come I'm sure I won't be disappointed.
- Celx Requin