Boïnihi: The K'i Codex




Genre:    Adventure 

Developer:  Simon Says: Play!

Publisher:    Simon Says: Play!

Released:   May 27, 2020

Requirements (minimum):


  • OS: Windows 7, 8, 8.1, 10 
  • Processor: 2 GHz or better
  • Memory: 4 GB RAM
  • Graphics: Video card with at least 512 MB video RAM (either shared or dedicated) and OpenGL 2.0 support
  • Storage: 1 GB available space  
  • Sound Card: OpenAL compatible
  • Additional Notes: Some of the puzzles rely on color and sound. Keyboard is mandatory to move the character.  




By flotsam

Boïnihi: The K'i Codex

Simon Says: Play!

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 them.

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 band.

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 that effect.

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 missed.

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 click).

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

RAM: Corsair Dominator Platinum RGB DDR4 32GB

Video card: AMD Radeon RX 580 8192MB


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