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Looking back, it’s another game of bits. Except that with Ghost in the Sheet, I thought all the little bits prevented it from being better than it was. Here, the bits are irritants but they don’t prevent the game from achieving something rather good. It can be a bit melodramatic, the acting can be a bit strained, and Rachel does look only a little bit less artificial than J.U.L.I.A. But it does provide eight or so hours of thoughtful, enjoyable, story driven science fiction, a good number of well crafted and varied puzzles, and some excellent looking cutscenes. J.U.L.I.A. is a game I would happily recommend as being well worth the price of admission.
Lots of love goes out from me to developers Lukas Medak and Jan Kavan (aka CBE Software). They had some help in creating J.U.L.I.A., mostly in voice acting and localization, but for the most part, the two of them created the entire game, even the occasionally trippy electronica soundtrack. J.U.L.I.A. is obviously a labor of love, and it’s hard to be critical of a labor of love. But a few more hands on deck would’ve helped turn a good-looking, sometimes frustrating puzzle fest into an outstanding adventure game. The future appears bright for CBE; I look forward to their next project.
J.U.L.I.A. is a unique and thoroughly enjoyable mission of remote planetary exploration and puzzle-solving.
Tirando le conclusioni, J.U.L.I.A è decisamente un buon titolo: la trama è senza alcun dubbio il motore della vicenda, ciò che vi spingerà insomma a continuare nei vostri viaggi interstellari, ma rimane comunque l'amaro in bocca per non poter incidere più di tanto sui risvolti della vicenda, anche se questa scelta non è un difetto di programmazione bensì una precisa scelta stilistica degli autori.
J.U.L.I.A. isn’t going to change your life in any significant way, but it goes back to many of the tried-and-true tropes of adventure games in a fun and rewarding way. Its medium length (about ten hours) keeps it from overstaying its welcome, and the moral decisions you face at the end may have you reloading a save to check out both of the game’s endings. I think you’ll be glad you picked up J.U.L.I.A..
J.U.L.I.A. is a well-edited game with a clear vision that keeps you interested by perpetually adding tissue-thin layers of complexity to a lean frame. It doesn’t do anything new or spectacular, but then, it doesn’t need to. What it does do is combine tried-and-tested elements – cerebral puzzling, text-based exposition, FMV sequences and a “last human” sci-fi yarn – to form a pleasing, cohesive whole. If you’re a nostalgic adventure gamer looking for a quirky title to while away a few evenings, J.U.L.I.A. is definitely a good choice.
Other than the acting side of things, which is always an issue with smaller budget titles, there's little 'wrong' with J.U.L.I.A, it's just more of a case of what's right isn't right enough. If that makes sense. And in these times of austerity, perhaps it'd be best to satiate your love of puzzles and space isolation drama by picking up a 99p crossword book from your newsagents and filling them in while watching Pandorum or Event Horizon or something like that.
J.U.L.I.A. heeft me achtergelaten met een gemengd gevoel. Aan de ene kant is daar de lineariteit van de game, die niet meer van deze tijd is. Bovendien gooit de voice-acting veel roet in het eten waar het gaat om de sfeer. Aan de andere kant is het verhaal goed genoeg om te blijven spelen, zijn de puzzels goed uitgewerkt en voelt de game als een coherent geheel aan. Het gevoel bekruipt me dat de makers van J.U.L.I.A. meer ambitie dan tijd en geld hadden en dat is jammer, want er had misschien wel veel meer in gezeten. Sowieso is het leuk om weer eens een puzzelspel te spelen met een volwassen context. Alleen al daarvoor verdienen de makers een pluim.
This certainly does not make it a game for everyone. J.U.L.I.A does nothing to hide that fact that completion requires little more than a light cerebral workout and whatever time you’re willing to spend on it per sitting. You’ll rarely, if ever, find yourself truly stuck and the game’s highlights offer almost zero interaction. These are not elements to be lauded, but it does little to take away from the genuine feeling of satisfaction seeing the title through gave me. I enjoyed the time I spent with J.U.L.I.A. That may not be enough for everyone, but it’s more than enough for me.
All in all, I enjoy playing J.U.L.I.A., despite the annoyances of a few questionable puzzles and the occasionally poorly translated or delivered bit of dialog. I recommend it to fans of sci-fi and casual adventure games. It must be noted that the screenshots and trailers shown in the game's advertisement are taken from the game's cut scenes only, so that their quality is not representative of the rest of the game. Still, gamers who enjoy a good story and abstract logic puzzles will likely find J.U.L.I.A. to be quite satisfying.
This is the underlying problem with J.U.L.I.A. – it forgets games are supposed to be fun. Whilst technically the game is fairly sound and the story is well-written, the gameplay around it is almost completely void of enjoyment. In fact, coupled with the musical soundtrack, it feels more like an educational budget CD-ROM from the 1990s than a game. If you enjoy puzzles and the intrigue of the story, there may just be enough to keep you interested in J.U.L.I.A. but don’t expect the thrills, humor or indeed gameplay of an adventure game. It’s merely a puzzle game with a decent story. If that excites you, then maybe even the ludicrous £19.99 price tag may not ward you off.
J.U.L.I.A's developers have to be commended for attempting to tell a decent story. I can see the vision and the angle they've tried to approach this, and there is a fantastic tale locked inside this title begging to burst out. The two main things that let this down are the protagonist, Rachel Manners, and the majority of the puzzles. Manners is without a doubt the most irritating fictional person I've ever met in the last twenty years and the puzzles are so inconsistent that they frustrated me as the player. Considering the type of game this is, they needed to shine and they really, really didn't.
It has pained me to review this game, not because of a lack of patience or understanding but because the story had triggered an inherent desire to learn more and the game fought to dissuade me at every turn.