In the beginning, so the story goes, the Planet was at peace and so were the various tribes making up the population. But the appearance of a comet, which brought a burning sky and scorched earth, caused disruption. This Epoch of the Comet was marked by conflict between the tribes that dwelled in the land. This is the situation facing you as you take up the challenge of aiding Aruku, the young chieftain of the Hawk Tribe based on Tetala Island. Aruku has taken upon herself the task of leading her tribe to glory and prosperity while encouraging peace and harmony throughout the land. Welcome to Totem Tribe!
Developed by Enkord Ltd., Totem Tribe brings together elements of adventure, real time strategy and hidden object game play as you search for the Tear of Heaven which grants unimaginable wisdom and enlightenment to whoever possesses it. Chapter based, the game gives you an isometric view of the local terrain with Fog of War blocking out areas yet to be explored. Overlaying this view are three bamboo enclosed areas. These provide a scrollable mini-map view of the current island; access to available resources such as buildings and commands; and details of your current task.
You start off by building three huts to house the tribe members and then develop from there. Progress bars shown beneath the buildings under construction keep you informed as to how the construction is proceeding. As part of the building process, miniature members of your tribe scurry about carrying out various tasks. You can click on each figure to learn their name and whatever activity they are undertaking. At various points, stone tablet provide useful hints about how to proceed as you travel between the various islands.
Each of the islands has to be tackled in a set order. Following on from the discovery of the fabled Tear, you will need to rescue a Wise Man, held prisoner by aggressive mushrooms, and then start to locate six totems (more a religious relic rather than the totem pole I was expecting.). These totems represent a dolphin, monkey, seagull, lizard, bear and whale with each one being located on a different island that has more than its fair share of combatants.
While the battle scenes might lack blood and gore, they are generally appropriate to the style of the game as the various members of each side tend to swarm towards the opposition with little thought for tactics or their own safety. While your fighters emit a ghost-like presence when they die, the enemy just seems to collapse into a grave or other such heap as they depart the battlefield.
As well as building structures to help with searches, defensive and offensive purposes (the buildings actually produce the tribe members to carry out tasks), defeating the enemy, and finding the various totems, you need to be on the look out for precious jewels and items that open treasure chests. After completing the main task for each island, you are given the choice of continuing to explore the current island or moving on to the next one in the chain.
Graphically the game is well up to standard with various types of terrain and buildings. The tribe’s people, although miniature in size, are easily distinguishable according to type and they all have a strong sense of obedience when it comes to following orders. There are numerous nice touches including different wild-life carrying on as if nothing is going on around them and the tide that laps over the sandy beaches. As with the graphics, the sound effects suit this style of game.
Totem Tribe is the type of game that tends to sneak up on you. A quick five minute session can easily develop into an hour or more of island conquest. You can download a trial version of this game that has 23 locations, 120+ quests and puzzles plus three possible endings. The full game costs $19.95 and will run on any computer capable of running Windows 95 and later.
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