Monday, May 19, 2008

Looking for a puzzle?

Title: Cosmos Quest II: To Find a Sun
kinanev (Ilia Kinanev)
Release date: 12 may 2008
Playtime: 120 minutes
Size: 79Mb

To play this game, it is advised to play part 1 first.

Two years after the release of part 1, it now time for the sequel. One of the critiques of version one were the difficulty of the puzzles (illogical) and pixel hunting (objects not being very visible). And so, after having played the first one, my expectations of the sequel were very high.

Since the graphics are stunning, the sound effects and musical score are brilliant, one can only hope for a perfect game.

I can only say: I'm very disappointed! The graphics are again superb. The quality of backgrounds are really fabulous. The music that accompanies it, brings you in the right, futuristic mood. The story is very well build up, from intro to finish. It's a great atmosphere that one can get lost in for several hours. But you're rudely awoken by the devilish illogical puzzles and by the almost-not-possible-to-complete arcade games. And that hurts!

The story continues where part 1 stopped. And almost immediately the player is confronted with a puzzle that's hard to solve. The player has to make assumptions, has to try and error and needs some luck to make up for the logic. I won't spoil anything but I can only say that it wouldn't have to be that hard if only some things were explained: the abbreviations on the panel and the plates on the floor. That's all needed to make this obstacle less frustrating. And some logic: on your way you cross two plates. Why doesn't the first one have the same effect as the second? But I'm talking too much detail here.

And then there are the arcade games. I counted four (I include the run-for-your-life one) and they were all of a level that one can question. Seeing the games as standalone, they'd be of a perfect level. You need at least several tries to reach your goal. But the problem here is that I'm an adventure gamer, not arcade. In general, I don't like arcades, at least not inside an adventure game. And certainly not of this level.

I play with two different type of mice: one optical and one trackball. The first for the detailed work, the second for the comfort of use. But both were very unsuitable for the games presented here. I admit, it's all a matter of taste and what's amusing for one isn't for another. It's a matter of taste. In my case: not my cup of tea.

Now for the pixel hunting. There weren't that many objects that could be missed (although I'm 12 points short of the perfect score, so maybe these are the hidden objects..) but that's all compensated with exits. On planet Kusur you can go so many directions.... if you could only find them. You have to walk along every edge of every screen to see if there is one or more exit and even mid screen there are sections you can go and don't see (believe me, there are!). A bit more nuance, shadows of clearer footpaths could help out here. It's OK to wander around and explore, but it shouldn't become an obsession.

The sad thing about it all is, is that it's a great game. Like I said, graphics are superb. Sounds and music are nice to hear. Story is well build and told but all is overshadowed by the level of the puzzles. And that's a pity. But there's good news!

The last sentence of the game was: To be continued! So there will be a part 3! And let's hope that what wasn't learned from part 1 and returned in part 2 won't be back in part 3. But that's only for the puzzles, all the other elements are right on track!


  1. You don't comment the utilization of Roger sprite? If is a "great" graphical game, At least need to have an original player character.

  2. You're right that the character sprite used here isn't original. But it's used in a very good way. I don't agree with the fact that you need an original player as a character to make a great game. It's the way you use it. Admitted, new sprites are preferred but when you use it in an original way, it's ok. Look at New Kid for instance, it's no original content but very well done.


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