Customer Review

25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Easy and Beautiful, December 5, 2005
= Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Nibiru: Age of Secrets - PC (Video Game)
Martin Holan is a young archaeologist working at a rather boring research project when his uncle, also an archaeologist, calls to tell him of an interesting discovery. Roadworkers in Prague have unearthed a WWII-era bunker. Its contents have interesting implications for uncle's lifelong work. Will Martin go check it out?

NiBiRu is a lovely point and click game from the people who brought us Black Mirror and it shares many of that game's strong points while having overcome some of the glitches. The sound and graphics are beautiful, of course. The voice acting is quite good. The many characters have a variety of accents --appropriate, as Martin is the only American in the game-- and they are all quite understandable and realistic. Incidental music only appears from time to time, but is low-key and interesting enough not to be annoying. And other F/X, such as storms, traffic sounds and the like, give fullness to the gaming experience. Pre-rendered locations are nicely detailed, although there is less animation than in Black Mirror. Characters are believable, rather than super-real. Movement is somewhat limited, but what there is works.

Puzzle-wise, NiBiRu is extremely easy. Most of the puzzles are inventory-type, with only about half a dozen discrete mechanical puzzles thrown in. Of the latter, only one was at all difficult, and that one was VERY difficult; I worked at it for probably six hours over the course of three days before giving up and consulting a walkthrough for the answer. There was one other sticky place with an unlikely solution that you pretty much had to stumble on by chance, as Martin gave no clue what he was thinking. There were a couple very easy timed puzzles (I got through them without a problem on the first try) and one place you could die (I only found one, anyway). However, at that point if you died, the game automatically reloaded right at the beginning of the sequence, without playing any annoying "consequences of failure" sequence. So you could try over and over again without too much frustration.

There are a couple things to keep in mind while playing this game. First, as in Black Mirror, you have to right-click as well as left click on every hotspot, as well as every item in your inventory, as this might reveal more information. Some people have a very hard time keeping track of this; it didn't bother me. On extremely rare occasions, you can't pick up inventory until you know what you need it for (or at least have visited the location where you need it). On the other hand, there are several tasks you CAN do without the faintest idea why you're doing them, before you have all the necessary parts. This can lead to a lot of wandering around and head-scratching. You can't replay or revisit dialog, but I didn't see any reason why you would have to. I liked that the dialog took care of itself; that is, once you clicked on a topic your characters just conversed about it until they were done, without your having to click on interminable conversation trees. I also liked that when a task took time--as when Martin had to wait for something--a clock simply appeared and ticked around the dial a couple times; then the game proceeded. This did away with the problem of wandering around looking for something else to do to advance the action.

The endgame showed up pretty abruptly and there wasn't much you could do but watch it unroll. I think I would have liked the possibility of a couple different endings, or more possible interaction. All in all, NiBiRu played more like a piece of interactive fiction: fairly linear, with a predetermined outcome the gamer could not influence much. After a brain-bending, puzzle-heavy game, it was a nice relaxing change of pace that took me about 15 hours, maybe less. If you like classic point and click, you'll like this one.
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3.1 out of 5 stars (33 customer reviews)
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