Review: Cutesy: Quest of the Unicorn

At a Glance

ESRB Rating: NR - Not Rated
My Rating: Everyone
Genre: Puzzle
License: Commercial
Release Year: 2011
Review Published On: August 27th, 2016
Played on: Martha

Available from:

Gamer's Gate

Save System:

Your progress is saved after you complete a puzzle. There's no way to save during a level, but this isn't much of an inconvenience.

Summary of
Major Issues:

The most objectionable thing found in this sugary-sweet game is a unicorn that can summon cupcakes at will. There is some bullying going on, but ultimately, the bullies lose out on a lifetime of free cupcakes and doughnuts.

Screenshots

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The fancier puzzle mode

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Your standard 15 Puzzle

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Playing with stickers after the puzzles



Game Overview

It's pretty obvious that Cutesy: Quest of the Unicorn was aimed at younger gamers. Surprisingly though, the gameplay turns out to be challenging enough to still be somewhat entertaining to an older audience. If you can get past the overly friendly graphics, cheerful colors and pink unicorn featured on most levels, then you could probably have a good time with this game.

Although the game is called "Cutesy", this isn't one of the characters. The pink unicorn shown throughout the game and its promotional materials is named Bunty, and she's the star of the game's story. You see, she has a special magical ability: she can create cupcakes out of thin air!

Unfortunately, this has led to her being alienated and bullied by the other creatures, and so she begins traveling across the world in hopes of finding a friend.

The game itself features eight levels (plus two bonus levels). Each level begins by giving you a bit of the story and an option of which style of play you want to use to reassemble the level's picture. Choosing the "puzzle" option has you solve a common logic puzzle, but the "story" option makes things more interesting.

In the "story" mode, you can move the pieces around in more ways, and you control how many pieces are on screen at any time. This makes the game a lot easier, but it evens things out by introducing hazardous pieces that may appear instead of another piece of the picture. To clear a hazard, you combine it with a counterpart or fling it through one of the grid's doors. Either way, you'll need to move quickly as many of the hazards will do something more than just waste space on the grid.

Both variants also feature a timer. You'll need to solve the puzzle before it runs out, or you'll be forced to start the level over. Later levels are more likely to send hazards your way and have less time on the clock, so you'll need to learn to move quickly if you want to win.

While this is a nice little game, there are some problems. Specifically, some of the features don't seem to work as expected, which might be a problem for parents and children that aren't tech-savvy. Another major issue is that the company behind this game seems to have disappeared, so getting support might be a problem.

Points of Interest

Collect and play with stickers
There's an unlockable minigame where you can play with stickers. You earn these by solving a puzzle, and each level has six stickers and a medal for you to earn. Playing with stickers only involves moving them about a background of your choice, but I can see this being pretty entertaining for a little kid.

If you want to keep the image you've created, you can save it to your computer or upload it to Facebook.
Excellent art
All of the ten levels feature well done and colorful images. It's easy to tell what each piece of the picture shows, so you won't be confusing one piece for one another. The stickers also look like someone took pride in making them look their best.
The story mode is pretty unique
The puzzle mode is just a typical 15 puzzle, and that's not really anything to write home about. However, the alternate game style is something I've never encountered before, and it's a fun twist on the simple premise of reassembling a picture.
The hazards are interesting
In the story mode, you'll need to deal with special pieces that get in your way. The easiest way to clear a hazard is to connect it with its opposite -- for example, a sun will cancel out a thundercloud and a pearl will cancel out an oyster.

But these pieces do more than just get in your way. Many of the hazardous pieces will mess up what you've been doing if you let them sit on the grid for too long. A thundercloud might cause a lightning strike, scrambling the parts of the picture you have placed nearby. There's also a blue teddy bear in a striped prison suit that will snicker and steal away one of your other pieces. Because of this, it's important to deal with hazardous pieces quickly.
15 Puzzles are a dime a dozen
Most logic puzzles are very, very common and are pretty much limited to minigames these days. The one used in the puzzle mode is called a 15 puzzle, and it's one of the more common ones. It's easy to program (I coded the puzzle on the 15 puzzle glossary page in about an hour), so there's nothing really noteworthy about yet another one appearing, let alone one you need to pay for.
Hope someone understands the file system
One of this game's special features is the ability to play around with stickers you collect. The problem is, when you go to save a picture you've created, the files are often placed in Windows' virtual storage instead of in your normal document folders. You can change directories to save it properly, but this might not be something your average person will know how to do.

Worse, the game can't change to a different partition. I don't store my personal files on the C: drive, and I discovered that I wasn't able to navigate to where I keep my stuff from within the game.

Also annoying was that the game's installer put the shortcut to launch the game on the desktop instead of in the game's Start Menu folder. If your desktop icons are hidden (like mine) you're going to have to go looking through your computer to find either the shortcut or the game's executable. Again, this isn't something that I'd expect an everyday user do understand.
The homepage is gone
It seems that Crawfish Games stopped having a presence online sometime around 2012. Their Facebook page hasn't been updated in quite a while, and their website doesn't appear to exist anymore. Thus, the links provided by the installer don't go anywhere now.
The game's a little on the short side
With ten total levels, there's not that much to do. What's there is fun, but it doesn't seem like enough to justify the price of the game.

Concerns and Issues

Magical unicorns and narwhals
The main character is a magical unicorn and the character they eventually meet is a magically gifted narwhal. If fairy tale magic isn't your thing, then this is probably something to consider.
None of the animals that tease Bunty or Roane are punished for it
Despite making Bunty cry and encouraging Roane to spend his time alone away from everybody else, nobody is ever punished. On the other hand, that's not what the moral of this story was about. The actual moral was that there is always someone out there that would want to be your friend; you just need to keep looking and never give up. Note that in the end none of the other animals ended up getting to spend time with a friendly unicorn that can spontaneously create cupcakes, so you could argue they did technically lose out on something great.