I recently stumbled upon this game, and bought it, without knowing its history. I was able to play all the way through without a walkthrough. It took me more than 60 hours! All of those beautiful screenshots (except for the second one) are actually from the game. The second screenshot must be from an earlier version of the game; the smaller crab monster does not appear on that map, and there should be four characters in the party at much higher levels than shown. I'm a very patient person, and there are quite a few rough edges to the game, but overall I quite enjoyed it, and would like to play again when I have more time.
Things I liked:
* The graphics are some of the most beautiful I've seen anywhere. My favorite areas to look at were the Butterfly Hills and Caves, the Cursed Woods, and the Desert of Solitude.
* Some of the monsters have very unique and interesting behaviors. My favorites were the chocolate box monsters.
* Many of the maps are vast and complicated, which makes exploring a fun challenge.
* The first part of the game has all kinds of puzzles mixed into the maps and quests. There are object manipulation puzzles, word puzzles, opening gates in a maze puzzles, and others that really made me think outside the box. I thought the Sweet Tower area was just brilliant.
* The main character, Melrose, really won me over. She's so imperfect, and doesn't always do the right thing. But the game does such a good job explaining why she does things, I liked her anyway, and she had my total sympathy.
Things I'm neutral about:
* My computer was too slow for this game. On many maps, movement was very slow and jerky. Sometimes it took more than 6 seconds of waiting when I wanted to access my inventory.
Things I didn't like:
* The first half of the game is a very tough act to follow, and the second half of the game just doesn't meet the same standard. The interesting puzzles fade out and are replaced by comparatively trivial little quests. I didn't find the second half of the game nearly as engaging as the first half.
* There are lots of little things that just don't work properly. Story events repeat unintentionally, I got speech from a character who wasn't in the party yet (I think this may be being fixed), the potentially cool feature where you can craft your own items didn't work properly for me (very slow and tweaky, couldn't scroll through lists, some of the given recipes didn't work), the quest book seems to be missing the detailed descriptions of all the quests, and the in-game help function didn't work for me at all.