NIBIRU: Age of Secrets - PC - Review
We’ve all played adventure games, just admit it. If you’ve played Myst, which is almost everyone that owns a computer, then you’ve played an adventure game. The point-and-click adventure game genre will never die because the core gameplay is usually easy to pull off. The plot usually revolves around some secret mystery that you spend the entire game trying to solve. Solving the game is done by simply pointing and clicking on various items you discover throughout the game. Simple, easy and accessible for almost anyone to play keeps the genre going. Nibiru has most of these elements but has one glaring flaw that will keep gamers yawning instead of glued to the edge of their seat.
The story of Nibiru involves an ancient tunnel from World War II, an alien planet and a link to the ancient Mayan civilization. You play the role of Martin Holan, who is sent to investigate the tunnel. During his investigation he discovers a murder and a possible connection of the tunnel to the murder. The game has you searching for clues to the murder and to the secrets of the tunnel.
The mysteries of Nibiru extend much further than just a game. If you search the internet for Nibiru you will learn that Nibiru is believed to be another planet in our solar system that is referred to as Planet X. Some even believe this planet to have a connection to an alien race of reptilian creatures. There are some stories that have Nibiru being a protector of our solar system. Nibiru, the game, doesn’t live up to the lofty claims as the myths but at least tries to come close.
Gamers familiar with adventure games will be right at home with Nibiru. The same gameplay elements from other adventure games are present in Nibiru. Adventure games don’t try to push the envelope too much and Nibiru isn’t an exception. You spend the majority of the game solving puzzles by pointing and clicking on items. The game even keeps you in one area until you figure out all of the puzzles of the area. I’m sure this was done intentionally to keep you focused on solving all of the puzzles but it can be a little annoying when you get stuck on one particular puzzle. I wanted to back track so I can figure out where I might have forgotten something but backtracking isn’t necessary with Nibiru. If you make it to another part of the game then you’ve completed all of the necessary parts for those previous areas. This usually keeps the pacing of the game moving along at a steady rate but with one huge problem.
Lip synching. Yep, you read that correct, lip synching. The lip synching of the characters is way off from the spoken dialogue of the characters in the game. When the characters are done talking, the characters on screen keep moving their lips for several seconds. Some parts of the game had you waiting for what felt like an eternity before the next bit of a dialogue was spoken. I counted at least 10 seconds waiting during certain parts of the game. This is a big problem that must be discussed since it just stifles the flow of the game. Your character talks, then you wait and wait, then another character talks and then you wait some more. This problem brought the game close to a snooze-fest since you spend more time waiting for the plot to unravel then spending time trying to solve the secrets of the game.
The voice acting of the game was another unfortunate disaster. The voice acting of the main character Martin Holan lacked passion and emotion. His tone was always stale and dry regardless of the situation he was in. The combination of Martin’s voice and lip synch problems was almost too much to bear at certain times.
The graphic quality of the game is the one bright spot. The game is based upon the same graphic engine as The Black Mirror, another game from The Adventure Company. Black Mirror had some incredibly detailed graphics and Nibiru follows the same tradition. The graphics of the various locations in Nibiru are close to photo realistic. Each location is full of lush detail that makes the locations stand out from each other. There isn’t much animation in the game because of the highly detailed graphics of the locations but with this type of game it isn’t necessary.
Nibiru: Age of Secrets isn’t the next revolutionary title that will have gamers talking for years to come. Instead Nibiru does what it needs to do and offers an entertaining adventure game experience that will surely please fans of the genre. But the lip synch problem is really annoying and I’m sorry to mention it more than once. In my opinion it really ruined the experience of the game since I felt like I spent more time waiting instead of playing. If you’ve enjoyed games from The Adventure Company previously then you know what to expect with Nibiru. For gamers that could barely make it through Myst without falling asleep, then Nibiru isn’t the game for you.
Review Scoring Details for Nibiru: Ages of Secrets
The interface is accessible to anyone regardless of their gaming experience. You simply point and click on various items in the game. I should mention that my cursor never appeared on the screen properly. It was usually a block full of static. I’m not sure what created that problem but it wasn’t enough to prevent me from playing the game.
I reviewed this game on a Windows 98 machine with a 64 meg GeForce2 MX card and the game looked fantastic. All of the locations in the game were stunning and gorgeous. The animation in the game was close to non-existent with the exception of the movement of the main character. Even his animation was stiff.
The voice acting in the game was terrible. The actors sounded as if they were reading for their first voiceover job. Hey, I’m not a voice actor but even I felt embarrassed by listening to the characters in the game. The music in the game was practically non-existent with only a few tunes being played in the game.
The idea of Nibiru the game isn’t that much different than any other point-and-click adventure game. Basing the game upon the real world beliefs of Nibiru being another planet in the solar system and having connections to the earth is different and unique.
Having the game keep you in a certain area until all of the puzzles are solved is a blessing and a curse. It’s a blessing because you know there is something you’ve overlooked and by persistence you will figure the puzzle out. It’s a curse because sometimes you get frustrated thinking you’ve clicked on all the items in the game and yet you’re still stuck in the same area in the game.
This is a single-player game.
Nibiru: Age of Secrets is a solid game that lacks the same polish of other games in the adventure-gaming genre. The graphics are excellent and the gameplay is solid if underwhelming. The voice acting and lip synch problem are where the game truly falters from reaching a higher score. But if you’re a die-hard adventure game nut then you can add an additional point to the score just because it’s an adventure game. For the rest of you out there just remember that sometimes being good enough isn’t that good.