Here we are again, back in the black cube universe, with Simon again
in the driver’s seat.
Drifting in space for goodness knows how long, you find yourself
stranded on a small moon. The ship’s data store has been compromised,
and a civilisation clearly used to be here. A ghostly apparition
appears, and lacking any other obvious objective you follow. A strange
quest to restore balance through an unintelligible Codex begins.
If you are a fan of Simon and his Black Cube games, you will find a
lot to like here. If you aren't familiar with them, this is probably the
most accessible, and a very reasonable entry point. It is stand-alone
enough not to matter that you haven't played the earlier ones, and
connected enough that you will pick up references if you have played
In saying that, I am not forgetting Myha, but that game was a
collaboration. It was more like a second-cousin to games like ASA and
Catyph. This is far more a sibling, born of the same one-man creative
As always, some things are different from his earlier games. Most
notably, we have a third person perspective, and movement utilises the
keyboard. You will walk or run (the character will decide) from one
screen to the next, using the WASD or arrow keys. Everything else though
is done with the mouse.
I am quite comfortable with keyboard controls, and while my personal
preference is a first person perspective, I enjoyed what was on offer
here. It also made me think a bit more about what went before, and my
character's place in that narrative. Not deeply, but mixing it up had
In conjunction with the keyboard controls, the camera perspective
resulted in a few fiddly moments. The camera is generally side on to the
main character, occasionally behind or in front, and while the
particular perspective is fixed (to my recollection) within each screen,
it can change between screens. Every now and then the new screen
completely flips the perspective, so what was right is now left. That
can result in you running straight back into the screen you just left.
Once you know it will happen between two particular screens it can be
better managed, but I still ended up bouncing back and forth at times,
even being aware of the shift.
Which is a quibble in the grand scheme of things, as so much in the
game is there to assist. A mini-map can be portrayed top left of screen
which will show your whereabouts and indicate areas of interest, and
more than once it helped me be aware of a location I had overlooked (the
library is a case in point). The ship's AI is still functioning, and
will analyse the documents and items you find, and at times might even
provide some general information about a particular objective should you
want to ask. The emanations you find of K'a and K'I (you can learn about
them yourselves) will provide additional information, as well as key
items to progress. Your own musings on the material you find will also
help you move forward, and should you want to you can highlight all
hotspots, and turn on arrows that indicate where you can exit a screen.
While your primary objective is to translate the Codex in the title,
gathering bits and pieces from four locations (once you work out how to
get to travel between them), there is a bigger story involving the cubes
and what went before. Revealed through a variety of means, including
videos that you can find, I reiterate that you don't need to have played
the others to appreciate what is on offer here.
There are plenty of puzzles and plenty of clues, provided you search
and think carefully. I didn't think anything was unfair, and some
puzzles even allowed for a bit of trial and error to get through. One I
did completely that way, which may have been the point or maybe I simply
missed the clue. I also collected some items without knowing why I might
want to do that, but almost every game allows this. More than that, on
some occasions a thought might occur to you that suggests a reason to
collect the seemingly irrelevant item, or what to do next. So whilst
careful exploration might lead you to find everything necessary,
something else might suggest a backtrack to find what you might have
Boïnihi isn't as difficult as the earlier games, but nor is it a
pushover. Overall, I thought it offered a very balanced challenge, which
is a big part of my opinion as to its accessibility. I took notes and
drew pictures, but never felt that if I didn't catalogue everything I
would be lost down the track. My own impatience was my biggest downfall;
when I stayed calm and moved on methodically, I was generally rewarded
by my efforts. Difficulty is obviously in the eye of the player, but
this walks an excellent middle ground between expert and novice, and
will still require an effort on the part of the former.
It won't win any beauty prizes, but the graphics live in the Black
Cube world and didn't really concern me. As much as I like a beautiful
vista, it doesn't guarantee a good adventure game experience. Some of
the art work though in some of the books you will find is quite
impressive. There is a varied sound track and a range of ambient sounds,
and while most of the dialogue is read, there is some spoken word.
Screens are by and large static, but there is some environmental
motion (water moving, leaves blowing across the screen, etc.). Cutscenes
and your own perambulations provide the bulk of the movement. The
default icon is a hand, that will change depending on what you can do at
a hotspot. When examining areas, you will likely generate one or more
pop-up screens. Each is akin to a slide, superimposed on the main
screen, and each pulling you further into the particular area. You back
out of each to return to the main screen.
Right-click to bring up your inventory ribbon top of screen, or
left-click the top right icon. Your documents are here, as are the items
you collect. Left click to read a document or use an item. Moving the
cursor outside the ribbon will close it, a feature I liked (no need to
You can save at will, tweak a variety of settings, and a tutorial
screen, and will likely spend about 10-12 hours getting to the end.
I liked Boïnihi a lot.
I played on:
OS: Windows 10, 64 Bit
Processor: Intel i7-9700k 3.7 GHz