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Reviewed: Nibiru
Author: Michael Ahlf       Date: September 27th, 2005
Page: 2
Nibiru is the latest offering from Czech developer Future Games, who previously brought gamers an adventure title called The Black Mirror. In Nibiru, players take on the identity of a historical "researcher" or adventurer named Martin Holan, who is helping his uncle investigate the discovery of a Nazi complex uncovered in Bohemia. In short order players run into a conspiracy, a murder, and the remnants of a secret Nazi research plan to find the secret of immortal life.

It's easy to imagine that the original European release, or at least Czech language version, might have been better voice acted. Or not. Like many adventure titles that come across the seas, the English voice acting seems to have been done on the cheap, with muddled and/or stereotypical accents causing NPC's to seem out of place for their environments. Despite this, the music is quite solid, and the game's visual immersion done quite well.

Old tunnels, built to last. Watch the rats. Rich environments to explore, though often very little to actually interact with. Welcome to Mexico.

Graphically, Nibiru is gorgeous, with all the environments well rendered and beautiful to behold. Future Games also put the entire game into a sort of "widescreen" display, reserving the top for the game's menu and the bottom for the player's inventory. The result is visually impressive, though blanking the inventory panel when it's not in use seems redundant.

Storyline-wise, Nibiru keeps relatively fresh throughout. The various twists and turns - murders, shady characters who must be convinced to help Martin, and background information - serve well to keep the player involved. Sadly, the game's play time is quite short, and before long the ending - such as it is - has been reached.

Tourist attraction, or something more sinister? Many of the game's puzzles involve convincing NPC's to help you, mostly by doing a favor for them first. The logic puzzles are cute, though nothing tremendously difficult.

The one downside to Nibiru, alas, is its gameplay. The controls are about as simple as can be, with clicking on objects serving to look at them or pick them up and right-clicking serving, sometimes, to examine them more closely. Future Games' engine, for all its graphical splendor, is based on a very rigid sequence of inputs, none of which can be done out of order. The result, rather than an adventure game based on exploration and intuition, is a fumble through each puzzle's 2-3 screens, hovering the mouse over possible interactable objects and clicking every NPC in the vicinity until they ought to be truly annoyed, trying to trigger the next event that will advance the plot and allow the next round of fumbling.

Bottom line: it's a nice concept, and the storyline's good, but Future Games would have done well to learn a bit more on open-ended puzzles and interaction rather than making the game such a struggle to find the key trigger for any given event.


Added:  Friday, September 30, 2005
Reviewer:  Michael Ahlf
Score:
Page: 2/3

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