NyxQuest: Kindred Spirits Platform: Mac/PC [Also available on WiiWare] Price: $9.99 via Steam NyxQuest:Kindred Spirits as the name may allude to, is a story about Nyx, a young winged girl who falls from the heavens on a quest in search for her beloved, Icarus. Lower your arm to hide your bushy armpits and douse the flames on your bras, ladies: this time the girl is rescuing the guy. Gameplay: Set in ancient Greece, the mythological tale of Nyx and Icarus begins with a short introduction into their separation, and a greater story of the Gods getting angry at the world with apocalyptic hints at a giant cleansing shortly on the horizon. The pressure is soon on to find Icarus before the world as we know it comes to an end, and along the journey Nyx is also given the task of finding 20 ancient Greek relics. Nyx has lovely feathery wings and with these you have the ability to flap them up to 5 times before running out of loft and needing to reach solid ground again in order to glide effortlessly across wide caverns. You can also jump, and pull and push large objects. As the game goes on, the friendly Gods give you control over the elements to help you on your quest, including the potential to control the wind (don’t be gross), and power over lightning. Although classed by its creators as an action adventure, I’m more inclined to consider it a side-scrolling puzzle platformer with some adventure characteristics. The puzzles are at a reasonable difficulty curve, never being too hard to figure out, but you will find yourself experimenting a lot with trial and error or being let down by not making a jump or running out of loft before getting to a platform. The waypoints or location beacons are a little too far apart, leaving a lot of repetition when experimenting with that trial and error of trying to find the ancient relics. Closer beacons would have avoided frustration almost completely, leaving it at the absolute perfect blend of difficulty and reward. Nyx sets out on her adventure through ancient Greece. Graphics and Audio: Over The Top’s ancient Greek world is quite beautiful to look at, much of what you assume would be there is there: the columns, the sand, the pottery and the statues. But what really nails it are the evil do-ers. One of the only constants throughout the whole game are the Harpies, evil black-hearted bird-like creatures that you can’t even get close to. My personal favourite enemies were the Hydra. Black dragon-like creatures that erupt from the sand shooting a succession of dark deadly fog and fireballs. Minotaurs, spikes, an ever-watchful eye (think the eye of Sauron but without the fire) and even the sun itself became mortal enemies trying to stop this nanoscale Nyx trying to find her best mate. The backgrounds are gorgeous as you carry on your quest, and there’s enough variety in colours and points of interest to stop it looking too samey. However the sound was a bit iffy at times, unfortunately. A few times I would push a large rock across the sand and it would make a noise as though I was pushing it along stone, or I would throw a giant stone boulder and it wouldn’t make a sound when it landed (despite shaking the ground). In contrast to that, tiny ethereal Nyx sometimes sounded like she was an elephant charging down my hardwood floors. Her footsteps made an unrealistic amount of noise for someone light enough to fly with ease and this was at times distracting. The lack of love in the details with the sound broke the immersion often and was the games biggest weak point. The music however was fantastic, with an original soundtrack vaguely reminiscent of Diablo 2’s town music. Nyx stealthing her way through the Fields of Argos. Replay value: You can race through the game just focused on the end, or you can take your time and play explorer. Exploring every playable area will no doubt ensure you collect each of the 20 relics, and in doing such unlock a secret new level called Arcadia. Here you’ll find a level slightly trickier with more challenging puzzles than previous levels. There are also time-based achievements for completing levels under set times. All in all I could easily see someone dropping 10+ hours on this game if they really enjoyed it and tried to 100% the whole thing. Although I’ve heard some people who played it on the Wii finished the game in around 3 hours. This leads me to believe that the WiiWare version may have been nerfed a little to accommodate for the use of the Wiimote, because I cannot imagine being even close to completing the PC/Mac version in that time. Nyx about to battle for Icarus at Mount Parnassus. Overall: My experience in Over The Top’s ancient Greece was a delight, and at a price of $9.99 for roughly a total of 8 hours (including replays) of cute, fun, exciting and sometimes frenzied gameplay, it’s an outstanding value. The reunion at the end was sweet but could have had a little more pomp to it, after spending lots of time on stealth in the Seeing Eye level a chapter or so before it, it would have been nice to have been rewarded with a decent chunky heart-warming end sequence (and a wee bit more explanation into the ‘reveal’). But all in all that’s a niggling feeling negated by an overall sense of fulfillment and satisfaction. NyxQuest: Kindred Spirits was a pleasant surprise for me, to be honest, and I look forward to any other installments that may follow. Pros: +Easy to pick up controls +Great soundtrack +Puzzles at a reasonable difficulty curve +Pretty, with a strong stylized look +Cheap price +Fairly good re-playability and plenty of achievements Cons: -Waypoints are a little far apart, increasing the chances of hulking out -Sounds lack a bit of polish -The ending could have been a tad more celebratory NyxQuest: Kindred Spirits soars away with a 7.75/10. Try the demo and/or buy the game HERE. A review copy was used to evaluate this game.