|System: Wii (WiiWare)||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Over the Top Games||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Over the Top Games||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Aug. 10, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Again, though, it's just such a great feeling once you figure out how to make your way through an especially challenging set of obstacles. Timing plays a huge role throughout the game, but the physics involved with moving objects won't always allow you to replay a section in exactly the same way. Most times when you die, it's because of some element you missed, rather than cheapness involved with having to memorize the patterns of various obstacles. There are one or two such moments in the game, but those sections, too, are great fun to whip through once you've got the timing down right.
The game's pacing is simply fantastic. Levels aren't drawn out, but they aren't quite bite-sized, either. You're rewarded for your efforts, and you'll gain new abilities as you progress. One specific mechanic, reminiscent of LostWinds, is a power the god of wind will bestow upon you about midway through the game. This ability will enable you to change the formation of an already existing wind pattern, which in turn will propel you to higher plateaus or steer you clear of spikes and other dangers. Additionally, there's a great moment later on in the game where, just when you think all hope is lost, Zeus steps in with yet another power that will not only make treading the path ahead easier, but also introduce an entirely new and enjoyable gameplay mechanic.
Though the levels ramp up in challenge, they also bring with them a host of fresh ideas. Upon entering a new area of Greece, you're presented with all-new obstacles that will force you to think on your feet. At some points in the game, you'll need to take things slowly and map out what to do next; other times it's a race to shelter before you're seen by some sentinel who will call forth the wrath of the desert.
The game moves in a completely linear fashion, though you can go back to previously completely levels in search of missing relics. There are 20 such artifacts in the game, and finding them all will treat you to additional gameplay. Checkpoints were sometimes a bit unforgiving in terms of how spread apart they were, and there was one instance where we found ourselves stuck due to an oversight in the level design. These minor quibbles aside, the game was almost pure platforming bliss.
On the production side of things, NyxQuest is a really lovely game to look at. Environments have a sort of cel-shaded look to them, and the desert blur off in the background is a nice touch. The lighting is also fairly impressive, as are the animations of Nyx and the other creatures within the game. There's not much variety, however, when it comes to the environments, but the gameplay doesn't need to hide behind palette swaps. It's an attractive presentation that's both fun to look at and play through.
The sound effects may seem a tad sparse, but they play an important role alongside the gameplay. You'll get audio warnings when sand (which will burn Nyx) is about to spring up across your path, or when enemies are nearby. The music, though, is a real treat, and themes will kick into a more urgent cadence when Nyx has come upon an especially dangerous area.
NyxQuest: Kindred Spirits is old-school at heart, but completely innovative and fresh when it comes to gameplay. It's an excellent adventure that defines the gold standard for WiiWare. You'll make fun use of the unique functionality of the controllers, with minimal waggle - though the gesturing still makes great sense within the context of the gameplay. When you put this game up against most of what's currently available on the platform, it becomes clear that NyxQuest is a must-own title. It's a challenging adventure - make no mistake - but its rewards are godly.
CCC Freelance Writer