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This isn't your normal nursery rhyme...Cursery
is a series of hidden object games
produced by Blue Tea Games in a similar vein to their Dark Parables
games. These games are a Darker and Edgier
twist on the Mother Goose
The first game in the series, The Crooked Man and the Crooked Cat
, was released in November 2013 and is a spin on the "Crooked Man" rhyme. No information has been revealed at present about future installments.
Tropes present throughout the series include:
- 100% Completion: As with its sister series, you pretty much can't fail at these games if you try long enough. The basic mode in each adds the optional challenge of finding all twenty of the cursed objects, which will speed up the recharge time on your hint button. You also unlock numerous achievements as you proceed.
- Alas, Poor Villain: The Crooked Man just wants to be reunited with his reincarnated fiancée, and finally commits suicide at the end when he saves her from imminent death, breaking his curse.
- All Nursery Rhymes Are True
- And I Must Scream: What happens if you're not the Crooked Man's fiancée? His ring turns you into a lifeless puppet.
- Bandage Mummy: In the bonus game, Humpty Dumpty is covered in bandages because he stopped taking care of himself so much, that his skin started cracking and blistering.
- Big Bad: The Crooked Man has been kidnapping girls for centuries, leading to the deaths of many who loved them and went in search of them.
- Bigger Bad: Mother Goose herself is hinted throughout the game to be the true villain. She gave the cursed items to Blaise in the first place and, in the bonus game, gave Gregoire his enormous hunger.
- Big Good: Marianne, despite her initial shadowy appearance, is this. She gives the player character the magic map needed to get around and is also implied to be the one leaving assorted helpful notes.
- Bizarrchitecture: The Crooked Man's cursed lair is a twisted maze of frames and paintings. The protagonist worries that if they make a wrong step, they'll become one of the paintings.
- But Thou Must: You're not given any options about anything, you just have to do it.
- Cats Are Mean: The Crooked Man has a psychotic cat named Parn as his servant who, thanks to a magical bell, can take human form. He was a stray adopted by Cheryl before her death.
- Darker and Edgier: Billed by the developer as a darker take on the Nursery Rhyme. It even manages to be Darker and Edgier than some of their Dark Parables.
- Digital Distribution: On the Big Fish Games website, and a few other places too.
- Dismantled MacGuffin: Many of the items you need to progress through the games are broken up into fragments, which you must reassemble by solving the hidden object scenes in which they've been scattered.
- Disney Villain Death: A given with Humpty Dumpty in the bonus game. Amely sprays a noxious perfume in his face after she saves her son, and while he's distracted, a cat (heavily implied to be Parn) appears and claws at his face, causing him to stumble out of the windmill's window to his death.
- Dramatic Irony: See Gilded Cage. Cheryl sneaking out of the chateau only proves Blaise's fears to be right when she falls to her death after he tries running after her.
- Driven to Suicide: Once Blaise rescues Cheryl/Renee from the collapsing statue, he apologizes to her for his behavior and jumps off the cliff.
- Due to the Dead: The Crooked Man created numerous memorials to Cheryl, and the player character finds one that was built for her by the people of the town where she lived, noting that she must have been dearly loved by everyone.
- Failure Is the Only Option: About midway through the game you find one of the Crooked Man's kidnap victims, locked in a cage inside the chapel. She begs you to set her free. Unfortunately, there is no way to do this and you have no choice but to watch as he puts the ring on her hand and she succumbs to the curse.
- Fate Worse Than Death: The kidnapped girls instantly become lifeless puppets when the cursed ring touches their finger. Toward the end, when the player character uses a prism to strike Parn with moonlight, he also turns into one of these.
- Featureless Protagonist: In addition to being nameless, the player character has no other identifying characteristics. The most that is seen of your avatar most of the time are gloved hands and long-sleeved arms. Renee is your sister, but whether you are her sister or brother is never revealed.
- Foreshadowing: The fact that Renee looks identical to Cheryl, The Lost Lenore, sets up the reveal.
- Gilded Cage: The true reason for Cheryl's death? She was increasingly unhappy with Blaise obsessively keeping her at the chateau at all times, so she escaped one night and he chased her down until she slipped and fell off a cliff to her death.
- Hidden Object Game: As with the Dark Parables, a number of the puzzles in Cursery are of this nature. However, there is a greater emphasis in this series placed on puzzles of other sorts.
- Leitmotif: In addition to being the Mad Artist noted below, Blaise also composed music, and wrote a stirring piece entitled simply "Cheryl" in honor of his beloved. When the player character first hears it, he/she realizes it's the same tune that Renee is always humming, which is the first clue that Renee is Cheryl's reincarnation.
- Limited Special Collector's Ultimate Edition: Available in a Vanilla Edition and also one of these. The collector's edition contains bonus gameplay and the usual variety of assorted goodies.
- Loading Screen: Only at the very beginning of the game, to load the main menu. It's worth mentioning because it contains artwork related to the game that is never otherwise seen.
- Locked Door: Several, and they can only be opened with their own specific keys.
- The Lost Lenore: Cheryl. Her death is the reason the Count went insane and became the Crooked Man.
- The Lost Woods: The enchanted forest path intended to disorient those who don't belong there. The poor woodsman got lost and starved to death.
- Love Makes You Crazy: Count Blaise Morellus was considered to be quite eccentric, but kindly and generous. When he fell in love with Cheryl, he began to obsessively paint portraits of her and tried to keep her at the chateau, claiming it was for her safety.
- Love Makes You Evil: He went insane with grief after Cheryl died and became the Crooked Man, kidnapping young women in hopes of finding his reborn fiancée.
- Mad Artist: Blaise was an artist in his spare time and, after he went insane from grief, kept a room full of portraits of Cheryl.
- Madness Mantra: One of the notes that the Crooked Man leaves behind consists of the statement "I will get you back" repeated multiple times.
- Magical Guide: Marianne (as in "Mary Had A Little Lamb") first appears when you rescue her lost lamb. She then reveals the story of the Crooked Man and leaves behind the magic map and helpful notes for the protagonist. She does the same thing later with Amely.
- Mama Bear: Amely, who you rescue early in the game, is the protagonist in the bonus chapter. She sets out to rescue her son from Humpty Dumpty.
- Meaningful Name: Renee is the French feminine derivative of the Latin name Renatus, which means born again.
- Mismatched Eyes: Parn's eyes are two different colors, whether he's in human form or cat form.
- Mistaken for Servant: Cheryl and Blaise initially had a Rescue Romance when he saved her from a twisted ankle. She learned that he lived at the Chateau and presumed he was a servant, and he let her believe as much throughout their courtship, even proposing with a straw ring by asking if she "would marry a poor man." Only once they were engaged did he admit that he was actually the Count. The player character later finds a note he wrote apologizing for the deception.
- Mother Goose Did It: The only way to explain a few things in the game, which otherwise would make no sense at all, is to ascribe them to the cursed magic of Mother Goose.
- No Name Given: The player character.
- Notice This: On the easiest difficulty setting in each game, hidden object scenes and other puzzles will sparkle to catch your attention.
- Only Known by Their Nickname: The Crooked Man's real name is Blaise and Humpty Dumpty's real name is Gregoire. The game only mentions their names on documents and through Renee talking to Blaise.
- Rags to Riches: Cheryl was a poor girl working in a grocery store when she captured the attention of the wealthy and lovably eccentric Count. Had the marriage not been prevented by her death, this would have been her fate.
- Reincarnation Romance: What the Crooked Man hopes to invoke by kidnapping young women in order to find his fiancée. He succeeds in finding her, but Cheryl/Renee refuses to marry him because of all the terrible things he's done over the years.
- Rescue Romance: As noted above, Cheryl and Blaise met when she suffered a twisted ankle. He later saves her reincarnation, Renee, from being crushed by a broken statue, saying that her previous death was the worst thing that ever happened to him and he could not bear to watch her die again.
- The Reveal: The protagonist's sister, Renee, is the reincarnation of Cheryl, the Crooked Man's dead fiancée. She also blames him for her death.
- Right-Hand Cat: Parn, the Crooked Man's cat, can take on human form thanks to the curse and carries out threats for his master. He was a real kitten who belonged to Cheryl before her death.
- Room Full of Crazy: Well, more like room full of portraits of Cheryl and bird cages.
- Shout-Out: Although it's not a nursery rhyme, the final stage of the game is very heavily based on Alice in Wonderland.
- Someone to Remember Him By: In the bonus chapter, it's revealed that 10 years after her fiancé Laurent was killed by the Crooked Man, Amely has a son named Prewitt, implying that she was already pregnant when the protagonist rescued her in the main game.
- Strategy Guide: These can also be purchased and downloaded for each game; they come included in the collector's editions.
- Time Skip: The bonus chapter takes place ten years later, when Amely's son Prewitt goes missing and she sets out to find him.
- Title Drop: The word "Cursery" is mentioned numerous times throughout the game.
- Villainous Glutton: Humpty Dumpty became this when a mysterious old woman gifts him a magical fruit. The fruit curses him to set out and consume everything.
- Was Once a Man: Gregoire Borde's curse turned him a bloated and bandaged monster able to unhinge and stretch his mouth and jaw to consume anything he wants.
- Blaise's curse warped his mind and gave him a thin and sickly blue pallor and cracked hands.
- Weaksauce Weakness: Cursery artifacts don't work in moonlight. The people who use them are only seen out and about at night.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: Arguably, the Crooked Man, who does everything he does out of love for Cheryl.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: So... Does Renee return to her normal self or is she forever stuck as Cheryl? And do the girls turned into mannequins revert to normal?