Nyx Quest: Kindred Spirits

Now here’s a game I can really get involved in. The story of a beautiful winged girl named Nyx searching for her true love, Icarus (yours truly), after the titan Helios went supernova and turned ancient Greece into a desert wasteland causing my wings to melt and my body to plummet to the earth. That pretty much sums up the story, but that’s not why you play the game.

It’s a side-scrolling platformer where you control Nyx, a winged… humanoid… something, who has the ability to flap her wings a grand total of six times and glide for a limited amount of time, so basically Kirby from Super Smash Brothers. You have to make your way from level entrance to level exit dodging around spikes, the scorching sand, harpies, satyrs, sand-serpents, etc.

NyxQuest is the first game from Over the Top Games and was originally designed for the Wii, though I have no desire to try it on the Wii since that would probably drive me insane. It seemed to adapt pretty well to the PC. At first I wasn’t all that impressed. It had very simple mechanics with a relatively dull and repetitive environment (desert and Greek ruins), despite being graphically beautiful.

Well-rendered and beautiful… but this is the entire game.

I wasn’t looking forward to trudging through this game. But soon enough, the use of the mouse is introduced and the game gets a lot more interesting. Zeus grants the power of telekinesis and now you can manipulate objects in the world! Suddenly I find myself having to use the keyboard and mouse in a way I haven’t before. While controlling Nyx with the keyboard, I have to control the environment with the mouse, often simultaneously and exclusive of each other. It took me a while to wrap my head around it, but once I did, it was actually enjoyable.

Though some of the additional uses of the mouse tended to annoy me. You eventually get the ability to shoot lightning bolts which can make every enemy trivial, though thankfully the game balances this out easily by adding new challenges. There’s one level which is slightly reminiscent of the scarecrow levels of Batman: Arkham Asylum, frustrating but in a good way.

If you get caught in the open by that giant eye, you can expect one hell of a sand rash.

And the final boss level/battle felt more like a computerised whack-a-mole, more of an annoying hindrance to your progress than an actual fun challenge.

There were other small issues with the game such as falling from a great height kills you. It didn’t add or subtract anything from the game, I just had to always remember to do a single flap when descending from a height. And moving spiritual fire through narrow corridors without touching the edges felt more like a task given to me as a child than something I should be doing in a game. There also seemed to be some kind of message at the end about new beginnings and second chances. I’m not exactly sure what relevance this had to the rest of the game.

While I’m listing these problems with the game, there’s one very simple factor which redeems this. I bought it legitimately for US$2.99 from their website, or slightly less in the Australian dollar. Why is a Greek mythological figure currently residing in Melbourne, Australia you ask? Well, let’s be honest here; Greece isn’t the best place to live at the moment and Melbourne being the largest Greek city outside of Greece seemed like the place to be. But getting back from that. I got a solid three hours of game play out of this game, so that’s $1 an hour and considering that I have happily payed $20 for much more mediocre movies in the past, I can walk away happy.

Overall the game wasn’t a bad one, though not one I’m ever likely to play again, despite there being collectibles I’m yet to find. But it was worth the price as it offers a challenging and mostly fun experience for several hours. And of course, it features me as the prize of the game.

Nyx Quest is currently available from their website on PC or MAC for US$2.99 or the Steam Store for $9.99.

Nyx and Icaro

Cover Image: http://img.neoseeker.com/v_concept_art.php?caid=34272
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