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Chemicus is the latest release in the Quest for Knowledge series published by Tivola. Two titles previously released in the North American market, Physicus and Bioscopia, were not only excellent titles for kids, but delights as straight-for-fun adventure games. Similarly to its predecessors, Chemicus has an elegant and charming, old-world air that acclimates the player to science concepts and interactions via a first-person, point-and-click interface intertwined with an entertaining fantasy story.
A good, graphically beautiful designed game, with well integrated chemical puzzles. Apart from the nerving loading times a really enjoyable game.
The graphics are typical to the genre, most of the game is rendered still images. However there are some nifty movie scenes. The sound effects are appropriate. There are noises for any movement you do and any object you interact with. The background music if very fitting. Unlike Bioscopia and Physicus the tutorials are visual only. I'm not sure if this is a good thing or a bad thing. Perhaps it's less 'teachy' that way. If you like Chemistry (or know a kid who does), puzzle games, or Myst style games, I am sure you'll be happy with this game. The puzzles are challenging so be prepared to think and experiment!
Chemicus convincingly demonstrates that, even with a seemingly dry subject like chemistry, it is possible to combine education and entertainment. For some there will no doubt be too little adventure and too much science here, but for others the availability of a tantalizing virtual playground will no doubt give them a truly juicy opportunity to test their mettle. Due to the excellent graphics and sound effects and the encouraging non-pressured atmosphere, you may very well end up wanting to learn a lot more, and your new understanding will bring tremendous satisfaction when you see the tangible results. The diverse puzzles will keep you on your toes, and the story will keep you wondering about the outcome. With polish and production values among the highest in the adventure genre, you cannot help but be impressed. No, I was not a chemistry buff before playing this game, but I decidedly am one now.
I enjoy "edutainment" games. In fact, my interest is often piqued by what new facts I can learn, whether about history, science, or some other area. However, I usually enter the playing field of such a game with the preconception that either the educational value, or the entertainment value is going to suffer. There just aren't any games that excel in both areas, right?
As I’ve said before, the fun went on a short vacation in this game. It was not a chore to play but it didn’t reach the full potential set by its predecessors. Graphically, the game is excellent but the game itself is weighed down by an overly strong commitment to demonstrating fundamentals of chemistry at the expense of adventure and story elements. Who will enjoy this game? People who don’t need character interaction or a well-developed story and are content puzzling through brainteasers that will not likely be found in any other games. Novice adventurers will probably find this too hard-going but more experienced gamers may like to explore flexing their brain muscles…
Chemicus is more like a standard edutainment title than the other two, but its size and complexity set it apart from every other edutainment title I have played. If you want a charming scientific stroll through a graphically rich and visually quirky environment, aided by a series of interactive lessons, play Physicus. If instead you want a scientifically based puzzle challenge of the highest order, set in a large and detailed world in which you will wander (and ponder) back and forth with a weighty tome in your backpack, then Chemicus is for you. Same but different, and each to their own.
When I received my review copy of Chemicus: Journey to the Other Side, published by Tivola Entertainment, I had all intentions of having the review finished before the game hit retail shelves. Little did I know the scope of this game would require more than the nominal one-day marathon to complete. This game is, in fact, much more than a chemistry book with a GUI, as I at first feared it might be. Prepare to add a dash of adventure to the ole’ cerebral soup, and refresh the axiom “Better living through chemistry.”
Chemicus is an educational game that misses the game part. Endless unrelated, compulsory test tube chemistry puzzles await you (capped off with tedious analyzer-machine molecular puzzles at the end), Some puzzles do exemplify the basic principals of chemistry, such as using lemon juice to clean a calcified waterspout. Others range from more complicated to downright nonsensical, requiring tedious trial-and-error placement of odd articles (unless you can scroll through 45 inventory items and immediately guess that you must put the golden arm you found four locations ago onto a certain pedestal).
Chemicus seems like the type of product that might be great as an educational aid in a classroom setting -- with a teacher over your shoulder -- who already knows the solution. Chemistry can be a fascinating subject, and when Chemicus works, it works well. For gamers, though, even adventure gamers in need of a new title, Chemicus just isn't fun or interesting enough to justify a purchase, despite the low price point. It's a nice try, but this reaction just fizzled.
With the simple addition of a narrator, this game would have scored a 6/10; even with its poor navigation system, it was an interesting premise. As is, it is barely playable.