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Moebius Empire Rising
Developed by Pinkerton Road, Moebius Empire Rising is a point-and-click adventure game. You are cast in the role of Malachi Rector who is an expert in the field of antiques and has a reputation of being able to detect fakes no matter how well they have been made. The game is structured around a points’ system which you receive for making the correct decisions and actions as you move around environments and interact with other characters and objects.
The game opens with a cut-scene. Although this opening contains some inspiring music and interesting graphical effects, it is little more than a medium to display the lengthy credits. Fortunately a mouse click gives you the option to skip the credits and move on to the main action which tends to be cerebral rather than physical in its format.
You are introduced to your character as he enters his high-class, and probably very expensive, antiques store in Manhattan where he meets up with his assistant Gretchen. As with all the characters in this game, Gretchen and your character are represented by large, animated avatars that communicate with real speech and a minimum of lip movement. The dialogue is delivered by voice actors who are then backed up by on-screen text. Your character has a rather cut glass accent which did not feel quite right to me.
The game avatars are overlaid on well-drawn scenes that are sometimes viewed from different camera angles. As you move your mouse cursor around scenes, labels will pop up to reveal possible points of interest and you can click on objects or characters. Depending upon the state of the game and who or what you click on, various icons could appear giving you a choice of actions.
Some of the icons will be reasonably familiar as to their purpose while one or two might be new to you. With an eye you can examine objects while a hand indicates you can pick up an item which is then usually added to your inventory. Items in the inventory, which is accessed from the right side of the screen, can be combined with a selected object when necessary or used in other ways. An icon in the form of gears allows an object to be used directly. For example you could open s door or drawer and turn on machinery.
A speech bubble is the clue that you can communicate with another character. These conversation sessions do tend to be rather verbose as you select from various topics to ask you questions or deliver comments and receive the responses. Often the selection of a particular topic will open up other topics that you need to explore in order to get the information you require to solve the tasks you have been set.
The appearance of a brain icon brings into play Malachi Rector’s ability to analyse people or objects. A data analysis screen will appear offering you the opportunity to make appropriate decisions regarding the person or object under scrutiny. You can check out identified data points and choose from three possible options or compare elements of the subject with historical characters or objects. Any mistakes that might be made will need to be fixed before continuing.
Other aspects of the game do allow you some leeway with regards to making mistakes or a failure to complete a necessary task. However, at some later stage, you will need to backtrack in order to put things right. For example at point I failed to check on a particular character and so missed out on a piece of information that was required later to make progress. It was not until I corrected this omission that I was able to proceed.
In your role of Malachi Rector you have access to a tool set that is accessible from the top left of the screen. This feature, while keeping you updated as to which chapter is current and your points total, contains four tools. The first of these is a menu that has options for How to Play help plus load and save your game position. The latter is particularly useful in the event that you might come to a sticky end by making the wrong decisions.
The other tools are your smartphone, map and a hot spot detector. Selecting the hot spot detector will reveal all the current items in a scene that might contain useful information. Not only does the map show the available locations you can visit but will also transport you to whichever one you click on. By far your most useful tool is the smartphone. This contains features to make calls either manually dialled or using a built-in contact list, record messages, notes and details of your current task plus provide you with a web search facility. Like you, Malachi would be totally lost without his smartphone.
While this game is certainly impressive in its concept with well delivered dialogue and great graphics, I did notice a few areas that would have benefitted from some extra work. There was often a delay between the appearances of some scenes and certain actions. On one occasion two characters seemed to collide while on another occasion characters appeared twice in the same scene. Apart from these issues, Moebius Empire Rising will certainly prove challenging.
I have been playing the Windows version of the game on a Windows 7 system while it will also run on Windows XP and Vista. You can purchase this game online for a price of $29.99.
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