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Oknytt Review – Somewhere I Belong

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Point and click adventure games have been collecting dust as a genre for a bit in the gaming community, after most publishing companies deemed them to be unprofitable after their golden times in the 90’s. Only recently are we starting to get a push back into this genre with titles like Deponia, Machinarium and this new little gem, Oknytt.

Oknytt, by the strange title is based off of Norse mythology. The player controls a small creature who crawls out of a pile of rubble, confused of what is going on. Throughout the game you’re trying to find his sense of belonging in this dark, somber, and beautifully drawn world. As the player travels around from place to place, he or she is able to affect that world by utilizing small runes on the screen.

These also go in turn with some of the puzzle solving elements to continue the creature forward in his quest to find his place. The game does not hold your hand in guiding you where to go and what to do easily. For those who have a more of a gung ho background, you may spend a good couple of minutes trying to figure out what to do as were some of the old point and clicks.

When entering this world for the first time there is an unrequited beauty to behold from observing the environment, especially in conjunction with the player slightly changing it with the runes. It’s easy to immediately think about the game Limbo being in this world, from the mood to the high contrast monochromatic design. It does stand on its own ground for being different in its design and characters, however there are some flaws with cohesion of this.

The environment and scenarios are hand drawn in a 2D perspective, while the player is projected in 3D. It’s really hard to get the two working harmoniously to be cohesive, which I found myself feeling slightly disconnected from the design of the 3D main character to the 2D world. This was coming from the way he moves and also how some of the lighting doesn’t affect him within the world, which would help solidify his grounding.

There are also a few hiccups, from character bugs where the main player would be bigger then the scenario, a few slowdowns when moving in an environment that does a horizontal scroll and a few resolution issues normally with the VFX being a little choppy. These were really minor things though that do not damage the playability of the title.

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From it’s dark, brooding, mood and visualization, I found that the true gem in this game is the audio. The ambient noises really help hone in on the effect of the game with its faint sounds. A few times music can be heard faintly within the confines of ambience in piano work which works out well. It might’ve been nice to have a little more instruments involved and apparent but for what it was used for, it did its purpose.

The narration was top notch and by far my favorite aspect of the game, possibly even more so then the 2D art. I often found myself selecting every option of an object to get all of the narrative reactions as I enjoyed the storybook presentation and to that, it worked very well.

I felt the story of the game was one of its weaker aspects. Although it is lore driven, there wasn’t a strong enough connection to the main character, or a strong enough impetus to keep going within the time that was played. I did enjoy the creepy dark characters in conjunction with narration and the world.

However, for the main objective of finding his place and later on, assisting a wingless Alva, I just couldn’t get attached strongly to either one. In general it was hard to establish a strong relationship with the main character.

The only thing that helped were his acts of kindness towards those who are ruder to the hero, such as Naken. In general he was a meek character and any of the major heroic deeds he accomplished didn’t really feel rewarding, they were more like a shrug of the shoulder.

If anything, I often found myself looking into the lore option within the game to understand more of the characters and what their roles were in Norse mythology. It would’ve been awesome to have even more information about them.

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Now the big issue with most point and click adventure games is the pacing, which is very present in this game. As previously stated, this is a game that requires the player to think a little bit, observe the whole area and then solve rather then be gung-ho in their actions.

I had to do a bit of backtracking and experimenting with combinations with the collected items to continue forward and in some cases had no idea that I had to use said item which is hard to say if it was by my incompetence or a flaw in the game design.

With how the world is made with its dark monochromatic design, the dim ambient noises, movement of the character, and the overall structure of point and clicks; the game felt rhythmically slow and it doesn’t do enough to break the monotony.

With its pacing, it dragged on a bit and with the lack of relationship establishment regarding the main character and story in general. I was more interested in seeing the other scenarios for the 2D art then to experience and persist for the story, which I think is one of the most important aspects to a point and click.

As I am being pretty nit picky with a few aspects of the game by no means do I think it’s a bad title, and for one made by the four person team of Nemoria Entertainment, it’s not bad at all. For what was accomplished, I also don’t think its breaking any grounds with doing anything different. I do feel this is highly needed to re-establish interest in the point and click genre, though. Overall, I believe the title is worth looking at if you are a point and click enthusiast but for those outside of that area, you might find the pacing to a be a bit too slow for the liking.

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Chris Gollmer

About

I have been an avid gamer since I was a child, playing Legend of Zelda on the NES and began true niche gaming during the SNES/Genesis battles.