NyxQuest: Kindred Spirits Review for Nintendo Wii

NyxQuest: Kindred Spirits Review for Nintendo Wii

It’s been roughly a year now since WiiWare launched, and though we have had a handful of compelling titles hit the platform, few have come close to offering the depth of LostWinds. Over The Top Games, however, now raises the bar just a little bit higher with a beautiful and challenging adventure based on Greek mythology.

NyxQuest: Kindred Spirits screenshot

NyxQuest: Kindred Spirits is something of a puzzle-platformer wherein you take control of a winged goddess in search of Icarus. While stretching his wings, Icarus stumbles upon another astral plane (presumably night) and meets up with Nyx. When the destiny of Icarus falls upon him, Nyx sets out to rescue him from his fate. Surprisingly, the game does a really good job of offering up an interesting presentation, and though there are a few flubs in the writing here and there that cause some minor confusion in terms of instructing the player, the story is intriguing. The game also seems to take quite a few liberties with Greek mythology in general, but it’s an enjoyable and somewhat melancholy adventure all the same.

Nyx is a winged goddess and, as such, can fly about effortlessly. However, she can only flap her wings (by pressing the A button) five times before needing to touch down on solid ground for a rest. There’s a wing meter on the top, left-hand corner of the screen, as well as a glide meter. By pressing the Z button, Nyx can glide through the air, allowing her to travel greater distances. Her ability to glide isn’t infinite, however, and you’ll often need to time your flight just perfectly in order to get where you need to be going throughout the game.

NyxQuest: Kindred Spirits screenshot

Early on in your pursuit to find Icarus, Zeus will offer his assistance via a power that will allow you to exert control over various highlighted objects within the environment. You’ll use the Wii Remote along with the B button either to move blocks and other objects, or to hold up pillars that might otherwise crush Nyx as she tries to pass under them. This is where much of the game’s difficulty comes into play, as you’ll often be required to hold up pillars, grab fireballs, or interact with some other object while navigating Nyx through the level. The game makes its level of challenge apparent right from the start, and if you’re looking for casual fare, you won’t find it here.

Nevertheless, the game is always fair. You might find yourself cursing often, but the rewards for clearing an area are great. The puzzles are clever, and they’re worked into navigating levels in ingenious ways. Controlling Nyx is also very intuitive. She can run by holding the Z button, and the amount of flight she gets when flapping corresponds to the speed and pressure of your button presses.

NyxQuest: Kindred Spirits screenshot

Nyx’s travels take her through a broken Greece populated by the vile minions of Hades. Harpes are an early fixture of the game, and though they patrol set patterns, if you get too close, they’ll break their patrol to come and attack you. There are also satyrs who charge at you, lopping off a fair amount of your health if you’re hit. There are some pretty cool boss-like challenges as well; they aren’t epic, but they’re certainly entertaining and mix up the formula nicely.

Both the Wii Remote and Nunchuk are used to the fullest, and it’s almost crazy at times what the game will ask of you. There is a touch of waggle thrown in toward the middle of the adventure, but thankfully it doesn’t play a huge part in the gameplay. Some of the game’s later levels, however, will surely have most players asking themselves, “How the heck do they expect me to get past that?”

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.

NyxQuest: Kindred Spirits screenshot

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.

It’s a very pretty game for the WiiWare platform, with lovely cutscene artwork sprinkled throughout. Though you won’t travel outside of the deserts of Greece, the gradual change from day to night is quite striking. A few presentational blemishes crop up from time to time. 4.7 Control
Yes, there’s an element of waggle, but it’s implemented in a way that makes sense. The real showstopper here, though, is just how much of the controls the game makes use of, as well as the insane things the game will require of you. 4.4 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
A beautiful soundtrack that peaks at pivotal moments during gameplay. A collection of solid sound effects and voice utterances round out the package nicely. 4.3

Play Value
My game time clocked in at almost exactly five hours, minus the extra gameplay you’ll get when retrieving all of the game’s relics. Multiply that by the cost of a full $50 retail product, and you’re getting a steal for the gameplay on offer here. There’s local co-op multiplayer as well, and it will be an absolute necessity for more casual players.

4.5 Overall Rating – Must Buy
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.

Game Features:

  • Experience in NyxQuest: Kindred Spirits the awesome story of Nyx, an enigmatic winged girl, that must descend from heaven in search of her missing friend Icarus.
  • Fly over the ruins of ancient Greece and avoid falling into blazing sands or perishing in the claws of cruel harpies and hydras.
  • You will need the help of Zeus and other benevolent Gods from Olympus to summon their powers.

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