Aug 2, 2011Nightmares turn to reality. People start dying. Mainly of boredom. Sluggish story is Alpha Polaris' biggest drawback – you can fall asleep in front of the screen before things start to get interesting. Some ideas (like the possibility of solving some puzzles with a couple different objects) deserve acknowledgement but it's not enough when everything else is lame. [August 2011, p.57]
Jan 12, 2012This review contains spoilers, click full review link to view. I knew the game was short, so I waited a little until the price dropped and I still felt shafted. It really is very, very short, so my advice is not to buy it unless it also is cheap enough. However, the more important question is if it's any good. Well, it is ANY good, but that's about it.
The most irritating thing about it is probably how rushed the story is. While it's not very surprising in the least, it still holds potential, but they haste through it without any development or at least building up tension or even fear. (Yes, it's a horror story.) All the actually interesting conflicts and topics are merely mentioned and then never touched again. The shortness of the chapters becomes even more apparent when you consider that each of the four is a day and starts with the main character getting up in the morning and going to bed at night and you realize you haven't really done anything that could have kept you occupied for even half a day. The story itself is your standard "movie script", nothing special, which is sad because as mentioned, the topics it deals with are really interesting.
The dialogue often feels a little off, sometimes not fitting well with what had just happened or had been said before, but that might've been the translation.
The puzzles bring back a very interesting concept I'd like to see used more often (but better) again: typing in solutions. Usually, you'd get a list of possible solutions and must pick one, but here, you have to think of the keyword yourself, which, again sadly, is either rather easy or comes down to complete guessing. Most of these riddles involve deciphering symbols, which isn't too easy, but is doable for most of them as there are also hints about how to interpret them, but some of them look nothing like what they actually mean and those have no hints either. It's no help the symbols don't make complete sentences but are just a bunch of words put together. Slight spoiler, but here an example: A headless humanoid shape with a black dot in the middle. It looked similar to the symbol for the spirit so I though it might mean human. I typed that in and the comment was something like "yes, a human, that much is obvious". This, for me, indicated the meaning was a certain human and I checked all journals ect. to try out all the names of humans and tribes and titles ... until I gave up and looked the solution up. It was "heart" - WTH?! Sure, not all of these typing puzzles are like that, but since there's not way to trial&error your way through, the few that are will stop you in your tracks and can get really frustrating.
Another interesting idea is to combine an item with two other items sometimes instead of just one like most other point&clicks would let you do. The item puzzles are all nice, not too hard, but not that obvious, either, I liked them. They're also "down to earth" which fits to this game, not like the crazy stuff you do in some point & click games.
Oftentimes, it's not clear what to do next, but you usually have a general idea, so it's okay, though you really must pay close attention because you won't get told twice which is also true for any of the hints or advices you get. If you forget a detail, there's no way to ask about it again. (Weirdly, the option to ask about the other characters' background is back again each time you talk to them, even though the answers never change throughout the game.) A little more comfort would've been nice.
The presentation is okay. Adventures usually aren't "high-end" anyways. The backgrounds are mostly really nice and well done with the Aurora Borealis looking really good. The character 3D models are surely kind of "yesterday", but alright. When engaged in dialogue, cartoony still images of them will appear on screen and even though they're well done, they are a stylistic breach you will either hate or not be bothered by, but at least they depict emotions which the 3D models' faces, having absolute no animations, do not.
I did like that at some points you're able to decide ow to behave towards the other characters, but I doubt it really makes a difference. At one point, I chose to stay neutral between two persons and afterwards, they still treated me like I had supported the one of them over the other.
Overall interesting concepts and topics wasted to a rushed and rather superficial story. I'm giving it a 5 for mediocrity and shortness (compared to other games of same genre and price). For a horror game, it also lacks creepiness, though there was one short scene that literally stopped my breath and I was like "OH S***!" ... but then it was just a dream and the main character awoke.… Full Review »
Aug 9, 2011What a refreshing cool game! I really loved the atmosphere and the characters and the story is really exciting. The puzzles really make you use your brain. The backgrounds are beautiful and the facial expressions of the drawings are really great (I can`t see why didn`t they move their mouths) but the animations are really crappy. :-( The other negative point is that the game takes place in only 2 locations which can make it a little bit annoying at some points. The story is quite short but it is okay because of the setting you could not really get more out of it. I had a nice day playing it. Finished it in 6 hours.… Full Review »