|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|
Nikopol is far more linear than most adventure gamers will be used to. Theres a pretty clear goal driving you forward at different phases in each of the five chapters; youll spend more time figuring out what needs to be done in a particular spot and how to do it, rather than roaming around aimlessly through vast expanses of corridors and static screens.
It actually works well in this case, yet some experienced players may find it a little less complicated exploration-wise. Of course, there are plenty of puzzles to solve, and most of them are quite logical. Each task has a direct purpose that connects to your mission and the broader story. Whether its gathering the components to paint an important portrait, fidgeting around with power couplings to unblock a subway tunnel, or manually disassembling a lock to escape a crate, putting the pieces together for each puzzle is rewarding and challenging.
You wont find a lot of MacGyver-style item combining; most of the puzzles require interacting with the environment directly or using inventory items intuitively on hotspots. The difficulty curve varies. There are some particularly tricky puzzles, and a few extremely tough ones that require lots of trial and error, but most of the challenges are unique and integrate well into the events in the story.
Adding an element of suspense and tension, there are frequent moments when youll suddenly find yourself thrust into a position where theres a very limited amount of time to accomplish the task at hand such as when theres a slathering beast about to break down your door or when a guard is about to turn the corner and catch you during a stealth maneuver. Failing to figure out what has to be done and doing it before time runs out triggers some pretty interesting death scenes. Fortunately, the game is far from draconian. Dying is only a minor nuisance, since youll get a hint and then start over at the beginning of the time section. Still, this changes the gameplay up a bit and injects some excitement into the mix.
Nikopol is a concise, smoothly flowing sci-fi adventure that offers plenty of challenge for the old school crowd and a more pleasantly streamlined and updated approach to the genre for anyone whos been longing for something a little different. The game does run a tad on the short side. However, the quality of the gaming and storytelling is substantially high throughout most of the journey. Its a visually impressive experience, and a worthy addition to your adventure game collection.
CCC Staff Contributor