Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Nikopollocks

Well that was weird, and blessedly short. Nikopol is a very French game based on a series of French novels. It feels very much like the developers picked a couple of chapters from a book and decided to base a game on them. You're dropped into the world without really having any idea what's going on, and that feeling doesn't really change by the end of the game. The game would probably make a lot more sense if you already knew the novels (and I'm half tempted to pick them up), but without that knowledge it's a bit of a mess. Something about squabbling Egyptian gods descending on a future Paris ruled by a religious dictatorship, and you play the role of the son of a recently escaped from political prison one-legged ice-hockey star. Something like that, anyway. The actual events of the game do follow on (fairly) logically, so if the game had only given a bit more of the background then the story might actually have meant something. As it is, the story is essentially throw away. Unfortunately, all this leaves is the gameplay, and there's not a whole lot of that to go around. It's basically just a series of puzzles in order, so you have to solve one before moving on to the next. As with the story, the puzzles don't have a lot of description, so you're very much left to try and work things out for yourself. Luckily, there's a very generous checkpoint system, so if you mess up you can immediately try again. Without that, the whole thing would have been a lot more frustrating. As it is, you can often brute force your way through a tricky puzzle by trying every item in your inventory on it. Mechanically, it wasn't bad per se, it was just let down on the story side. As a series of puzzles it works fine (if a bit short at only a few hours), but as a narrative game it fails miserably. Ah well, onwards.

Next up on the randometer is...Lone Wolf: The Mirror of Death! I've read and enjoyed the Lone Wolf books a couple of times, so interested to see what this game is like. It's from '91, so quite an early one.

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