NiBiRu: Age of Secrets (Windows)

74
Critic Score
100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
3.6
User Score
5 point score based on user ratings.
Written by  :  Jeanne (75508)
Written on  :  Mar 15, 2007
Rating  :  4.67 Stars4.67 Stars4.67 Stars4.67 Stars4.67 Stars

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Summary

Worth playing for every adventure lover!

The Good

Nibiru has been sitting on my shelf all winter. I don't know why I waited to play it until this week. Maybe it was the weird name or the picture of the Mayan temple on the front. I wasn't looking forward to interpreting an ancient numbering system, language or calendar again (flashbacks to Beyond Atlantis and Nancy Drew: The Secret of the Scarlet Hand).

I really liked Future Games' previous game (The Black Mirror), although many didn't share my opinions about it. Like The Black Mirror, professional reviews about Nibiru span the ratings scale high and low. My opinion is at the top of the rating scale, and here's why.

The main character and story remind me of early LucasArts Indiana Jones games. An archaeologist, a newly discovered Nazi underground mine, searching for lost treasures, bad guys trying to get it before you do and the like. The plot took a few unexpected twists and turns which made it interesting.

There are loads of NPCs to interact with and all of them are portrayed very well - graphics as well as voice-acting. The translation into English was very good, although some of the so-called French accents sounded more like German at times. Some of the characters' personalities are really "colorful" and funny, especially in the Mexican area.

I was pleased that I was able to solve 99% of the puzzles myself - without a walkthrough or hints at all. Most of the puzzles are rooted to people or objects. There are decent amounts of "I'll help you if you help me" character puzzles, but everything you need is always nearby. Finding keys and/or pieces to open locked passages is normal in adventure games these days, but some of the locked door puzzles are very inventive and different. (Wait until you see the Colored Ball puzzle! It looks like a Parcheesi board, but works more like a circular Rubik's Cube.) There is a simple slider, a "get the bar to the exit" puzzle (similar to one in Nancy Drew: The Final Scene, only a bit harder), a jigsaw puzzle with triangle-shaped pieces (like another Nancy Drew game) .. but NO MAZEs (thank goodness!). All in all, the puzzles were integrated well into the overall plot and none of them seemed out of place.

Another good thing concerns the amount of travelling around. Some games make you traverse the universe to find what you're looking for. Not this game! You are confined to a certain area until you solve everything in that section.

Graphic backgrounds are easy on the eyes and realistic. Weather effects and shadowing add to the realism. The music never overshadows the voices, sounds original and is beautifully symphonic. Important puzzle solves get you special congratulatory music, too.

The interface is as simple as it gets in a point-and-click game. Both mouse buttons are used extensively, and I had to remember to right as well as left click on objects. Subtitles can be turned on or off and volume controls are provided. You can save as often, and in as many slots, as you like. You can skip through conversations and some cut scenes. Also, I was happy that I wasn't asked 10 times "Are you sure you want to exit?", like some games do. Click Exit and you're gone.

Finally, the ending is satisfying and concludes the story well.

The Bad

I liked almost everything about Nibiru, but a few things come to mind in this area.

As seems to crop up more than is warranted, there are quite a few misspellings in subtitles. (a pet peeve of mine) And sometimes the words written on-screen didn't match what the actor was saying exactly - but close enough.

I missed not being able to make Martin run but got used to it after a short while. I would have liked to look at the inventory objects more closely. I also would have liked to name my saved games. But those things are incidental and a matter of personal preference.

The Bottom Line

This game contains everything a great adventure should - good story, graphics, music/sound, acting, dialogs and interface. I found it to be engrossing and fun. So much so that I couldn't step away from my computer until it was finished!

Nibiru will take you back to days gone by, but not in the way it looks or sounds. The gameplay, situations, puzzles, and overall feel make it a brilliant game. I highly recommend it!