Sunday, July 29, 2012

NyxQuest, revisited

at 11:49 AM
Here's an interesting piece of gaming trivia for you. What game is NyxQuest? The answer may surprise you. It's: you probably didn't know. NyxQuest was a lovely game released onto that much bemoaned WiiWare service. If you're a "Nintenhardcorerer", as you call yourselves, you've probably cited this game as an example of what can be done with a downloadable Wii title. Or likely not, but you may remember anticipating Icarian, the much belated Kid Icarus seq- oh wait, no, it doesn't have anything to do with Kid Ick, but hey, this looks like a kinda cool platformer, wait, where'd it go? It got renamed is where it went.

Alright. Here we are. We're on a bad platform with bad advertising and bad distribution. We had some screw-ups with the name game, but for the US we finally settled on NyxQuest. Not a great start, so let's forget it and talk about the game. From here we can go in a couple directions; door A will take us to a conversation about the unique tone and atmosphere Over The Top chose for their game. Door B leads to a world where the only form of communication is physics based 2D platformers. Door C is an open letter to the powers that use Wii to mimic mouse controls. Door ;) winks at you surreptitiously. That's one of those words that I kinda half know what it means. I use my imagination for the other half!

Feel free to step through the door that most tickles your fancy. I'll be taking route A because I'm a depth-first-search program scripted to make blog posts because you don't know what computers are and neither do I. I open the door and see a wondrous land of the rest of this sentence. NyxQuest draws me in because of its almost creepy atmosphere. Many games star a lone wanderer in a desolate wasteland... this is one of them. What's interesting here is that the apocalypse seems to have come at the pinnacle of the Classical Greek era. So you get your standard ruins with pyramids lurking right around the corner and sphinxes peeking in every window, but it's actual. You're IN the decrepitude - no - you ARE the decrepitude. Emptiness isn't exactly hard to achieve in a digital environment, but NyxQuest pulls it off well. The color contrast between sand and sky, the balance of vagary and detail, and the omnipresent wind. They keep the sameness going for just long enough that when it's different, your jaw drops (spoiler hinting). 

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