Point-And-Click Makes A Comeback with Moebius: Empire Rising

Moebius Review: Jane jensen reminds us just how good point-and-click adventure games can really be.

Moebius Review: Jane Jensen reminds us just how good point-and-click adventure games can really be.

If you follow this blog (or follow me on social media), you should understand that I’m a hardcore fan of Jane Jensen’s games, particularly the Gabriel Knight series. To me, those games are perfection, especially when it comes to what point-and-click adventures should be. Sadly, point-and-click games aren’t as popular as they once were, but I won’t blame it on new technology and consoles at all: I blame it on lack of good storytelling. Now, I’ve played some pretty decent point-and-click games recently, but some were frustratingly hard and others seemed to get lost in their own story.

Moebius: Empire Rising is not such a game, though. In fact, it’s a throwback to the Gabriel Knight games, which I’ll admit I stayed up late at night to play just to see what happened next. And I’ll state for the record, I haven’t had that experience with a point-and-click adventure since then. Until now. Yes, I’ve been playing Moebius: Empire Rising (thanks to a review copy I received) non-stop. I’ve lost sleep over this game and I hope this review encourages you to do the same.

It’s All About The Story

So what is Moebius: Empire Rising about? It’s about this guy, Malachi Rector, an antiques dealer. Malachi has a special sort of talent for seeing the pattern of things: the world, history, people, etc. He’s a bit of an arse, but he’s also a compelling character: handsome, intelligent and well-spoken. In fact, I would call him a functional socialpath, much like the modern-day version of Sherlock as portrayed by Benedict Cumberbatch. What’s not to love, right?

In the game, Malachi gets caught up in something much greater than himself and his involvement puts him in danger. Fortunately, he has a bodyguard in the form of one David Walker, who is pretty much everything Malachi isn’t: he’s a seasoned soldier with a good heart and a willingness to help anyone who needs it. The two form a powerful bond, the ultimate bromance.

But the story is more than that. It’s about patterns that happen throughout history, patterns that only Malachi is able to see. And in playing the game, you see those patterns, too, and the way they’re written into the story will blow your mind. Yes, the writing here is that good. But I expected as much from Jane Jensen. She has created a very compelling story with characters you can’t help but empathize with. In fact, at times, I found myself downright emotional as I grew more involved in their stories and their plot.

Graphics and Sound

Okay, obviously, this isn’t Call Of Duty and you’re not going to get full CGI realistic-looking scenes. Each scene, however, is a piece of art, that was hand-drawn (or done painstakingly on a computer) where every detail is paid attention to. In fact, I’d go so far to say that this is one of the nicest-looking adventure games I’ve ever played. The images are crisp, which is important when you need to figure out what to click on next.

Another thing that sets this game apart is its sound, particularly its excellent music. Not only is the opening theme song haunting and the sort of thing that sticks with you, but the ambient music fits each scene wonderfully, too. It all sets up the story well and makes sure that you get immersed.

And while we’re discussing sound, I was also impressed by the fine voice acting. I particularly liked Owen Thomas as Malachi, who hit every note of snotty sarcasm perfectly. The other voices were also well done, lending credibility to the story as you play through it.

Gameplay

Not only does this game excel with a great story, but gameplay is also pleasant. As I previously mentioned, a lot of recent point-and-click adventures have me wanting to throw my computer out the window. And yes, I know that some gamers like that. But when you’re desperately caught up in the plot and want to know what happens next, getting stuck on a puzzle or trying to put together a bomb from a paperclip and items you have around you, it’s frustrating. I found the puzzles in this game challenging, but not so hard that I couldn’t figure them out. I did have to think some things through from time to time, and I also occasionally had to revisit particular locations because I missed picking up a certain item, but I never felt as if I wanted to punch a hole through my computer screen while playing. This, I assure you, is a very good thing.

Controls are simple. You point at something and then bubbles pop up to enable you to enact with it, whether that be an object or a person. Options include chatting (if it’s a person) or combining something in your inventory with what you’re clicking on, or interacting with the object with your bare hands. There are also choices during certain scenes that can affect if you’re successful in your current mission or not, so choose wisely.

As far as game time goes, I was surprised at how much play I got out of this one. I’m pretty sure I finished the last similar game in several days, but even with nearly non-stop playtime, it took me over a week to get to the final scene with Moebius. I do, however, click on everything in these sort of games, just to see what happens, so others may complete it faster. But it’s still longer than its current peers.

Overall Impression

This is a very biased review and I have no problem admitting that. I knew that Moebius would blow my mind and suck me in, based on its writing. I did not, however, believe it would pull me in as much as it did, and even as I write this review, I’m still thinking about it and wondering what happens next (yes, there’s a bit of a cliffhanger at the end, so here I am, already begging for a sequel). I feel like I should say something critical just to balance out my praise, but I have absolutely no complaints about this game. As far as I’m concerned, it’s perfect.

So go out and buy a copy of Moebius right now. You can get it on Phoenix Online Studios website, SteamGog and GamersGate.

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