Developer: Over the Top Games
Publisher: Over the Top Games
NyxQuest started life out as Icarian, and since the first few screenshots and tidbits of information were revealed Wii gamers have been keeping an eye on this unique platformer. It was originally rumored to be heavily influenced by the classic NES game Kid Icarus by IGN, but now that they game is finally here it’s plain to see they were very wrong. Just as they always are about anything Kid Icarus related.
Anyway, NyxQuest: Kindred spirits is finally here. Is it worth your hard earned Wii points, or is it just another piece of dumpsterware being shovelled onto the system?
In Kindred Spirits, you play as a winged goddess named Nyx who has developed a loving friendship with Icarus, who would visit Nyx every day in the clouds high above Earth. Until one day Helios, Titan of the Sun, used his powers to punish the gods and their followers by scorching the entire planet and all who inhabit it. Knowing her dear friend is in mortal danger, Nyx defies Zeus’ rules and flies from the clouds to discover a now desimate wasteland covered in blazing hot sand and morbid ruins of once grand architecture.
The story is very generic, and is told in an equally generic fashion. Cut scenes are composed entirely of hand-drawn static images and the tale is revealed through simple text. Despite the lackluster presentation, the story never gets in the way of your enjoyment of the game, and it gives the player a little motivation to keep playing. And even though the story may not be very compelling or revolutionary, it is in NyxQuest’s gameplay that this downloadable title really shines.
In a mix between platforming and puzzle solving game design, you guide Nyx through a side-scrolling adventure, going from one portal to the next, to find Icarus. Throw in motion controls in the vein of the fantastic Lost Winds, and you’ve got yourself a fun and addictive platformer.
Players control Nyx with the Nunchuck’s analog stick, and control a small sun-shaped symbol with the Wiimote’s IR pointer. This reticule is used to perform tasks such as raising and lowering platforms, lifting and placing blocks, controlling wind and grabbing fire balls to use as weapons against enemies.
Nyx herself, of course, has the ability to fly or glide through obstacles. Every time you jump or flap your wings a feather is removed from the health and flight display on your HUD, and your endurance to glide is shown by a small blue meter under the health display. The game is strongly built around Nyx’ ability to fly, and levels are designed to force players to incorporate both flight and the ability to control objects with the Wiimote to advance through each stage.
There are some flaws that detract a little from the overall quality of the gameplay, though. For starters, NyxQuest is very boring and dry throughout the first couple of stages, and pacing is very slow. Had the developer shortened some of the earlier stages and lessened the time it takes the player to uncover certain abilities this wouldn’t have been such a problem, though the game does have much slower pacing and more relaxed level of action overall than I would have liked.
Another thing that there is some questionable collision detection that leads to lots and lots of unwanted deaths, most of which will be simple and avoidable suicides, and having to restart at the last checkpoint because of this can prove quite frustrating.
Thankfully, though, these gripes are very minor and you’ll forget about them once you get the hang of the awesome controls and begin unlocking more interesting abilities.
Now on to the game’s visuals. Kindred Spirits is one of the best looking WiiWare games since Lost Winds, a game that obviously provided a lot of influence. The two dimensional side-scrolling plane is full of well-rendered objects and stellar particle effects, and the 3D background features pretty impressive depth effects and provides lots of nice scenery, though it can be a little sparse at times.
The only complaint I have about NyxQuest’s visuals is the game’s lackluster animations. Nyx, enemies, bosses — all mobile creatures are noticeably stiff in animation. In fact, this is the first thing I noticed about Kindred Spirits after powering it up, before looking at any technical or artistic feats the development team accomplished. After about 15 or 20 minutes of play this seizes to be a noticeable flaw, but it definitely could’ve been done much better.
Remember when I brought up the game’s slow and relaxed action? The music is mostly to blame for the boring pace. Very rarely will it change from subtle, ambient background tunes to anything more fierce, even in the heat of battle. Were the music calm and serene during appropriate times instead of all the way through, it would’ve created a much more memorable score.
Also on the drab side of the sound spectrum are the sound effects. Like I said earlier, cut-scenes and dialogue are entirely text, so there isn’t much voice acting to speak of. Pots breaking, enemies squawking, stone scraping, and wind blowing are what you’re going to hear most of the time, and none of it is very outstanding or spectacular at all.
NyxQuest is going to run you an even 1,000 WiiPoints ($10) and will probably last the average player around five to six hours, giving it plenty of entertainment value. I mean, Mirror’s Edge was a five hour game and it cost $60! And even though the title starts out rather dry, it does pick up after the first few levels. After completion there isn’t much to do other than play around with the 2 Player mode, but it isn’t too much fun.
NyxQuest: Kindred Spirits is a great title with some very impressive traits and only a few minor turn offs. For only 10 bucks you’re getting a visually impressive five-hour game that controls fantastic, and is easily one of the most refreshing WiiWare titles since Lost Winds. If you can get past the overly slow pacing and drab sound, which isn’t hard to do considering everything the game does right, you’re going to get a lot of enjoyment out of this title. Highly recommended to anyone looking for a great WiiWare game.
- Fluid and natural controls
- Addictive gameplay
- Impressive visuals
- Only 10 bucks for 5+ hours of platforming fun
- A pretty solid challenge in later stages
- Slow pacing overall, especially in the beginning
- Severely stiff animation
- Small arsenal of enemies
- Sub par sound design
- One later stage will make you want to slit your wrists with the dull side of a hammer. I’m not kidding
Gameplay: 8.75/10 (Great)
Graphics: 8.5/10 (Great)
Audio: 6.0/10 (Average)
Entertainment Value: 8.75/10 (Great)
For more information, check out the official NyxQuest Website