A three-course meal of love, treachery, mystery and futuristic uproar. All from unique interactive perspectives.
Cibele is a personal tale of growing up and all the qualms that come with it. Mainly love, sex and the Internet. It is based on a true story of the character you follow throughout the game – Nina and is actually played by Nina herself.
In the beginning of Cibele, you are presented with a personal desktop screen that you can interact with. It’s here that you start to unravel who Nina is.
Once you’ve happily acquainted yourself with Nina, you can jump into her all time favourite game – Valtameri, an online MMO. It’s here where you are quickly introduced to Ichi – Blake, and all the awkward flirtatious chit chat that follows.
I found the switch to this MMO quite interesting, the art style of Cibele really takes its shape in the virtual world of Valtameri. The only criticism I would give this instance is that I found it very hard to control the character of ‘Cibele’ when attacking foes with Blake. This really broke the immersion for me, especially since you should be paying attention to the budding dialogue shared between Nina and Blake.
The game elicits some very personal and sexualised cut-scenes of Nina in her bedroom as she talks on her phone or tries to take flattering pictures of herself to either send to Blake or post online. This does a good job of mirroring the sexual nature of the online community. Along with illustrating the pressures and insecurities we’ve faced in our former youth.
There are only three acts in Cibele. After each act, you re-appear back in front of Nina’s desktop and you search through pictures, poems, emails and drawings that give you a glimpse of what has happened since. I felt that these snippets of Nina’s life were overly personal, they were so similar to items myself at Nina’s age might of possessed. It felt a tad violating to sift through her personal computer. You start to see how Nina’s feelings for Blake develop as she catalogues more pictures to send to him, as well as poems that reflect her thoughts on Blake.
The conversations between Blake and Nina in the game Valtameri progress quickly until ultimately they talk about meeting in person.
As any shy and introverted teenage girl, Nina is quick to backhand compliments from Blake. Her candid nature and complete absorption for Valtameri really got to me. Immediately I thought of myself at Nina’s age and all the self-esteem and confidence issues you face growing up.
This game is just shy of two hours and although interesting and unique, I thought it much too short. The ending felt abrupt and unfinished in a way. I just wanted a little more. Cibele plays more like a film than a game which is okay, it’s definitely an interesting experience, but I feel it’s a little too overpriced for what you get.
Her story – A Fragmented Mystery
Her Story is an interactive movie game by Sam Barlow. The game plants you in front of a computer screen seemingly running on Windows 95 (ick!), in a police station where you filter through videos of a woman being interviewed by the police. All in a desperate attempt to piece together what is – Her Story.
The game mechanics in Her Story are very simple. The game starts off with a prepared search term of ‘murder’. Upon watching one of the videos you’ll begin to take notice of keywords and fragments of story, that you’ll need to remember and search for respectively. You quickly find out that you’re watching a woman being interviewed on the murder of her husband.
Her Story conveniently offers a way to save these videos to your ‘session’ so that you can bank any important videos you come across. This particularly helps when the trail runs cold.
Each video can potentially contain keywords that are highly relevant to the case, to other videos that are just none sense. These are deliberately put there in a bid to throw you off the trail. The keywords you can use in the game are very hit and miss. Her Story constantly keeps you guessing, just when you think you’re getting close to piecing together the story, you’ll run out of what to search for and find yourself going back to square one.
I found myself taking vigorous notes as I followed the trail of breadcrumbs left in each video. Each new video I found was a new clue that made the plot thicken further. There were constant twists and turns that just made me so engrossed in this story.
Ultimately by the end of Her Story, I felt utter confusion. I had unlocked every video, felt I had a good grasp of the story and what had happened, but I was missing the who’s and why’s of it all. The game doesn’t really do a good job of concluding itself. I suppose that this is a deliberate attempt by the author. The viewer is asked to decide on their own interpretation of Her Story.
Although I left with more questions than answers in Her Story, I still enjoyed my time spent in the game and I wouldn’t say I felt cheated without a proper ending. This game has such an intriguing tale that really captivated me the whole way through. Her Story is a well defined interactive narrative. It’s a game definitely worth experiencing.
Read Only Memories – Point and Click meet Cyber Punk
Read Only Memories or cleverly – ROM is a point and click adventure game by developers MidBoss. ROM takes place in the dystopian future of Neo-San Fransisco in the year 2064. Now home to all kinds of technological advancements.
Your character is a down on their luck, broke journalist who meets the very first sapient robot named Turing. Upon your meeting, you become embroiled in an investigation to help get Turing’s maker back who has evidently gone missing. You’ll be introduced to the political implications of the use of genetic mods, humans with spliced animal genes – hybrids, and the popular debate of the self-aware Robot – Roms.
ROM is almost what a Telltale game would look like only 8-bit. The interface is very similar, with action prompts for speaking, looking, touching and you can even combine items from your backpack to any desired object.
Each new room or instance has a puzzle solving aspect to it. Whether it be gathering the right information, combining items from your inventory, or just talking to the right people. The game enables you to be creative with problem-solving and doesn’t hold your hand too much when you are stumped on where to navigate to next.
The dialogue in ROM is great, it’s quirky, clever, and even humorous at times. I was quickly enamoured with Turing, who would just say the most unexpected things. The characters you meet in ROM are so fleshed out, to the point where I felt genuine attachment to them. I found myself trying to choose complimentary dialogue to please characters I liked, or not giving a damn with characters I didn’t care for. Given, at times the pace of the game would slow when there would be huge chunks of text to swallow, but it would ultimately pick itself back up again.
The decisions and implications of what you decide to do are completely yours to make. ROM encompasses multiple endings and multiple dialogue choices – actions have consequences. I found this feature to be very unexpected and in-depth for a game like this, it was pleasantly surprising.
Even though ROM is mostly all text and reading, It is probably one of the most engaging games I’ve ever played. I was literally on the edge of my seat for most of it. This game has so much charm along with a host of interesting characters and a fascinating story to boot. With Read Only Memories the distant future doesn’t look too bleak.