Genre:     Adventure

Developer & Publisher:   Simon Says: Play             

Released:    May 2016            

Requirements (recommended):

OS: Windows Xp, Vista, 7, 8, 10

Processor: 2,5Ghz+

Memory: 5 GB RAM

Graphics: Video card with 1GB VRAM

Storage: 5 GB available space

Sound Card: openAL compatible sound card

Additional Notes: Some of the puzzles rely on color



By flotsam


Catyph: The Kunci Experiment

Simon Mesnard

(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 summation.

I am not sure how I will end up thinking of Catyph. In that regard, I confess to not having ended at all.

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 the matter.

I am not taking back the other two though.

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 elaborate.

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


Video card: AMD Radeon HD 7800 2048MB


GameBoomers Review Guidelines

September 2016

design copyright© 2016 GameBoomers Group

 GB Reviews Index