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Rhiannon: Curse of the Four Branches (Windows)

71
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100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
3.0
MobyScore
5 point score based on user ratings.
Written by  :  Jeanne (75604)
Written on  :  Dec 15, 2009
Rating  :  2.5 Stars2.5 Stars2.5 Stars2.5 Stars2.5 Stars

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Summary

Original storyline, decent graphics, but mediocre overall

The Good

I must give high points to the unique storyline in Rhiannon. It is based upon old Welsh mythology, a topic that I know nothing about and one that I have never encountered in a game.

In this game you come to house-sit the home of a family who has taken their teenage daughter, Rhiannon, away because of repeating nightmares and visions. Needless to say, the poor girl was whisked away, even though her poor parents had no idea what was causing her such distress. As the title implies, there is an ancient curse that seems to effect anyone by the name of Rhiannon who resides on the property. It is up to you to find information about the past and the present and ultimately get rid of the curse.

I liked the simple, user-friendly interface and the nicely rendered graphics and animated cut-scenes. Saved games are named by you and there are 100 game-save slots. The inventory bar stays hidden until you point to the top of the screen, and objects within it are named. In addition, objects can be combined.

Navigation is handled by pointing in the direction you want to go and clicking when the correct "arrow" cursor appears. You have left, right, forward and turn-around, plus up and down in some scenes.

Puzzles are fairly logical if you have the right objects. There are no mazes, sliders, math or scientific puzzles, always a plus for me. However, some of the most important puzzle solutions involve color or sound recognition which might cause trouble for color-blind or hearing impaired players.

It's also somewhat remarkable that the game was created in its entirety only by three "rookie" developers.

The Bad

Don't get me wrong, I liked this game, but it didn't really enthral me in any way.

Rhiannon: Curse of the Four Branches plays like a classic Myst game, which once was my favorite type of adventure.

You point-and-click your way around the scenery and inside the buildings of the estate exploring and clicking everything available in the hopes that a puzzle will present itself. Only by looking at (and clicking on) every, single thing and every piece of written material will you have any hope of figuring out what it is you are supposed to do. Unfortunately, only by using a walkthrough will some of us solve this game.

There are literally hundreds of items stored in various locations around the place, but you can't pick them up until you know you need them. This is lifelike, I suppose, but it can make the first segments of the game very unsatisfying if nothing is accomplished at first.

Sound effects are minimal, and the music was unoriginal and badly produced (it had a "tinny" sound to it).

The Bottom Line

I'm not particularly fond of horror games so I normally don't go out of my way to play them. I thought that Rhiannon was one of those until I read the reviews. It is a ghost story, and it has scenes of apparitions, some spooky noises and other strange occurrences, but it contains no horror.

As you can see, my overall scores for Rhiannon ended up showing this game as "middle of the road". It is an indie game, and you can tell.

If you are fond of 1st person Myst-like adventures, you can't really go wrong with Rhiannon. It had a fast install and played well on my system with no glitches or other problems. The game was also inexpensive and had a fairly good length, playing out in five chapters.

If you are diligent in seeking out objects, books and notes, you will eventually get the gist of it. Just be prepared to be stymied.