by MAD HEAD GAMES; BIGFISH GAMES
THREATENED WORLDS; SCIFI!
Story: As a child, you had a wonderful imaginary friend from outer space. Nix taught you about the stars and inspired you become an astronomer. Years later, while investigating a mysterious object in the sky, you discover that your imaginary friend was real all along! He’s come to warn Earth of a terrible threat – a merciless race of aliens is fast approaching, and you and Nix are the only ones who can stop them. Can you save both your friend’s planet and your own in time? Your journey will take you into the past and beyond the stars… (Big Fish Blurb)
Options & Main Menu: Both are good and user friendly.
Music & Voice-Overs: These are great. The music is ethereal at times, battle like at others, and can be volume controlled. The Voice actors are also really credible, evoking empathy or dislike for the relative characters.
Extras: Making of; Jigsaw Puzzle; Achievements; Mini-Game; Characters; Collectibles; Soundtrack; Wallpapers; Hidden Objects; and on collection of all Rockets there is a Unique Hidden Objects to play. The Mini-Game format is a little unusual – not quite what it appears to be on first sight.
Desktop: Nix (Left); Inventory & Lists (Left and Central); Memory Bracelet,Map, Walki-Talki, Hint, Menu, Guide, Notebook, Memory Crystal (Right).
Tutorial: As usual this is efficient and allows you to opt out if you wish. I’m inclined to just click on Special Features Tutorial where it is offered – just in case there is something unique to a game.
Graphics: The SciFi graphics are magic! Fantastic! So colourful, and delicious that you can’t wait to dive into and explore them. The real world graphics are also really good, depicting a slice of the 1950’s which is cool.
Play Modes: Stargazer; Astronomer; Cosmologist; Physicist.
Map: This was also graphically gorgeous, and had sparkles to show where the tasks were. But it also depended upon whether it had enough charge in it from the Memory Crystals. So sometimes you would want to open it to check where the next task was, but would find you were locked out. That was a little frustrating. And if you clicked on the sparkling site and jumped to it, that would use up some of the charge. So caution in needlessly jumping is advised.
HOPs: There is quite a variety of these – including lists, shapes, matching glyphs, finding hidden pairs, story HOPs – all containing a Morphing Object to collect. If you don’t manage to collect them all you can regain them after you replay the HOPs in the Extras upon both games completion. Some are reasonably easy to find – just look for the movement on the screen – but others are really obscure and need perseverance.
Puzzles: On the whole these are all good, though there are rather a lot of them. ? on the Right gives Puzzle Info and it’s worth checking even if you think you know what is required, as there are some odd little variations. On the Left there is a Skip Arrow which you can apply when the Puzzle is random or tiresome or annoying. That is your choice and doesn’t require guilt. Do the ones you like and move on. I am also not a fan of those shooting/fighting/battle Puzzles that require speed, accuracy, dexterity to play. These are almost always placed at the end of each game in your struggle to overthrow the enemy. They spoil the game for me every time as I have to Skip them due to my only-medium dexterity levels. There must be better alternatives.
Collections: Rockets (44); Morphs in HOPs.
Game-play: This flows really well, and is quite enjoyable. The story leads you along, keeping you involved and motivated. There is sometimes a sense of urgency, but you do have time to deal with whatever that is. Several times you use the Memory Bracelet combined with the Memory Crystal to travel into your Memory of time spent on Nix’s home planet, where you search for useful Items, and also repair damage done by the invaders.
Player Participation: This is constant – you have to carry out many tasks yourself, by turning screws, unlocking coded padlocks, rebuild Nix’s space ship etc – so you never feel like an onlooker. The Point n Click is high in this game.
Satisfaction Factor: I found the game very satisfying overall, and in particular the ending for both the main and bonus games were really well done. The Main Game is really long which is also gratifying – you don’t feel rushed through the story and can allow the experience to settle in your own memory. Another interesting aspect is the humour in this game – it is unexpectedly funny at times.
Frustration Factors: Sometimes when you know what is needed but cannot make it happen, or when you are barred access to the Map just when you need to jump to an otherwise inaccessible location, it can be frustrating. And some of the Puzzles are frustrating, and should be Skipped after you’ve given them a token try. I’d rather have the game flow smoothly than have it grind to a halt over an illogical Puzzle. And the aforementioned high-dexterity battle Puzzles at the game’s end are also frustrating and not inclusive of all players.
Bonus Game: This story takes place on Nix’s home planet, and really completes the main story – though that does complete well enough, while leaving you wondering a little. The game-play for the Bonus Game is the same, flows well, is also quite long, and very satisfying.
Jud House 19/08/2017
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