Nikopol: Secrets of the Immortals Review
Nikopol: Secrets of the Immortals box art
System: PC Review Rating Legend
Dev: White Birds Productions 1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid 4.0 - 4.4 = Great
Pub: Got Game Entertainment 2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
Release: Sept. 20, 2008 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 1 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
ESRB Rating: Teen 3.5 - 3.9 = Good
The Future is Weird
by Nathan Meunier

Refreshing. Now that’s a word you don’t often hear being used to describe adventure games these days. Many offerings in the genre seem to increasingly revolve less around innovation and tend to focus more on recycling the same handful of dusty old ideas from the past.

Nikopol: Secrets of the Immortals screenshot

As a result, even current generation point-and-click adventures often come across like mice on a tread wheel: running along blissfully in their own little world but going absolutely nowhere. Suffice it to say, the crumbling, futuristic world in Nikopol: Secrets of the Immortals should bring a certain measure of solace for jaded PC gamers.

Nikopol is a rare example of a point-and-click adventure done right. It’s by no means perfect – few, if any, games truly are – but it does away with much of the garbage that typically bogs down so many others in the genre. Without meddlesome dialogue trees, unintuitive inventory systems filled with half-useless clutter, ridiculously convoluted paths to progression, or a snoozer of a story, the game easily stands out in the crowd. It’s anything but your typical adventure game, and that’s a welcome change indeed.

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Inspired by the work of French graphic novelist and film director Enki Bilal, the game takes place in a futuristic, plutocratic France run by an iron-fisted religious dictatorship. While the wealthy and powerful are walled up at the center of the city, the have-nots must fend for themselves in the dilapidated remains of civilization outside the heavily fortified enclosure. These run-down outskirts is where the starving artist Alcide Nikopol takes up residence, joins a rogue religious sect, and gets drawn into an intriguing plot involving Egyptian gods, a giant blob of parasitic goo, a maniacal robot, and his own father who mysteriously falls from space in a stasis capsule. The future, it turns out, is quite weird. Admittedly, the story is out-there, but it’s also one of the more inventive sci-fi tales of late, and it’s pulled off in a way that keeps you wanting to dig deeper.

Nikopol: Secrets of the Immortals screenshot

The game’s bold artistic direction – France re-envisioned as an impoverished industrial wasteland of crumbling old-city architecture juxtaposed against cold, modern technology – impeccably punctuates the desperation and futility of living in the dystopian society. As dark, gloomy, and mechanical as each location is, the high level of detail worked into every inch of the numerous environments and gritty characters makes the setting all the more realistic. Nikopol’s well beyond condemned flat, where you start the game, is striking – both in its state of disrepair and the attention clearly given to making every object, nook, and cranny stand out. Other locations are equally impressive. Transitions between each of the main chapters and areas play out in an unusual mixture of animated cutscenes and comic book-like pull out frames. The whole thing is very stylish and cohesive.

Utilizing a very streamlined control scheme makes it easy to grab a snack during the single, lengthy sitting it will probably take most players to get through Nikopol; this game’s a one-hander. Hey, it works. Instead of moving around a static 2.5D backdrop, the game runs in a fully 3D, first-person perspective that allows you to explore the immersive environments from any angle you choose. Moving to different rooms, or different areas within a room, is done by clicking the mouse whenever directional arrows are present. The “teleport” transition is a little unrealistic. However, walking all the way across the room is overrated anyway. Left clicking interacts with objects, and right clicking opens the single basic item menu. It’s easy as pie.

Nikopol: Secrets of the Immortals screenshot

Screenshots / Images
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