Catyph: The Kunci Experiment
(a work in progress)
This is the second of Simonís
games I have played, the first being ASA. I remember it as being a
puzzle fest, ideal for those who want to write everything down and put
all the pieces together, occasionally brain busting, a bit low rent in
the graphics, a bit more confusing in the moving about, but a positive
experience overall. I re-read my review and that is probably a fair
I am not sure how I will end up
thinking of Catyph. In that regard, I confess to not having ended at
I did walk away early on, with
not much intention of finishing. I was going to leave the review up to
someone else, then thought perhaps I should explain why I had stopped,
and then thought that was unfair. So I gritted my teeth and went back to
the game, and while I still havenít finished I am glad I did.
Three things led to the initial
abandonment. The two key ones were a very messy movement system, and the
existence of blue matter. The rather drab graphics didnít grab me, and
it was a sum of the parts thing.
First things first. While I
canít say I truly warmed to the look, the drabness dissipated once I
left the first world, and things became more interesting. Graphics have
never made a game good or bad, and so I take back my initial feelings on
I am not taking back the other
If there is a messier game from
a moving about perspective, I havenít played it. You progress node to
node with transitions in between, but it is a mixed bag. Let me
Small red arrows will indicate
some degree of movement in the pointed direction, but it might be turn
or it might be move. An arrow pointing right might turn you in that
direction, and then allow you to move forward in the normal way, or it
might simply slide you to the right, with your back to the environment
scooting past. Walk up a ramp, and at the top you might be able to turn
180 degrees and walk back down, or you might have to back out of
wherever you ended up, the equivalent of walking backwards down the
ramp. And if you can turn around, you might find yourself at the bottom
with nowhere to go except to turn around again, at which time moving
left or right becomes available.
I did get used to it, but I
didnít like it. Plus the arrows are very small, and can be hard to see
in the environment when looking for a hidden pathway or door.
Then there is blue matter. In my
view, the less said about this aspect of the game the better. Except it
plays a necessary role, so I need to say more.
Blue matter augments some of
your movements, and it is necessary to solve certain puzzles. Early on
you need to turn a wheel that is stuck Ė blue matter will give you the
boost you need to get it done. Using it though will exhaust it, which
now means you have less blue matter than you did before. Accessing the
hint system requires blue matter as well. The hints arenít too bad, but
will expend your blue matter.
If you run out, you can find
more in the environment, or (and to me this is the downside) you can win
it by playing a ďdodge the asteroidsĒ mini game. Some have said it was a
welcome distraction from the puzzling; to my mind, it was artificial to
the extent of being silly.
You need blue matter and it
isnít obvious when you do (or donít), so you will expend it and not
always for a positive result. Obtaining it irked me to the extent that I
manipulated things by saving before trying to use it, and restoring if
it didnít work. Fussy, but preferable.
I could have played on a
different difficulty setting (there are four available, and well done
Simon on that) and had unlimited blue matter (story mode) or got rid of
it altogether (classic mode) but each had its downside Ė tools that
effectively skip puzzles v no hotspots. I wanted to play on the level I
had chosen, so blue matter had to be confronted. However having come
back to the game, I feel compelled to acknowledge that there are ways to
not have to manage blue matter, and so even though I didnít use them,
well done again Simon on providing the options.
What we then have is a story
involving saving the planet Catyph and a few more as well by finding six
black dice in different places, a mysterious being called Germinal, and
General Lantier who expects a lot from far away. The plot is wordy,
which isnít a bad thing, if a tad convoluted.
What we really have though is a
puzzle fest, leaning even more towards the brain busting. Ultimately it
is the reason to play. I needed help, and am still not sure I understand
the how of some of them. I suspect I will need more help to finish.
There are math conundrums using other than base 10 (fond memories of
Rama come to mind), alien glyph solves, pattern recognitions, and ďwhat
I see here I have to interpret and associate with stuff over thereĒ,
often once or twice removed. Just to name a few. They are hard, there
are a lot, and so dig in and get the grey matter (far more interesting
than blue) and the pencil ready.
A lot of the solves are not
straight forward, and require a fair bit of tinkering and thinking. Some
may think many are too hard. Perhaps they are, but it rewards patience
and pondering and pondering again, and being patient. And pondering some
more. Which I like, so it played to that strength. But be prepared for a
puzzling struggle, and to peek when you need to.
I reckon I have invested about
30 hours so far, and there are more to come. I am glad I came back.
OS: Windows 10
Processor: Intel i7-3820 4GHz
RAM: 16GB DDR3
Video card: AMD Radeon
HD 7800 2048MB
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