Developer & Publisher: Lars Pontoppidan / Black Grain Games
Released: August 12, 2021
OS: 64-bit Windows 10
Processor - Intel Core i7-5600U CPU @2.6 GHtz
Memory - 6 GB RAM
Graphics - Intel HD 5000
Storage - 1 GB available space
OS - 64-bit Windows 10
Processor - Intel core i7 @2.6 Ghtz or better
Memory - 8 GB RAM
Graphics - Recent Intel, Nvidia or AMD cards capable of 4K graphics
Storage - 1 GB available space
Additional notes: SSD for best performance
non - The First Warp
Lars Pontoppidan / Black Grain Games
I had a good time with this.
You play as 'n o n', unexpectedly warped across the galaxy to somewhere, a somewhere from which you struggle to find your way back to your home planet of Toukin. Plus, you need to save the galaxy on the way. Portals feature prominently, whisking you from one place to another place. Hopefully each whisk gets you closer to home, but who can tell?
The galaxy is a colourful cartoony sort of place, populated by critters much the same. Non himself is purply, elongated and alien-familiar, shuffling about in the third person as he tries to make sense of what is happening.
The gameplay is (almost) entirely point and click, and you can save at will (yay!). Reload any earlier save should you want to, or just click continue next time you play. There is no spoken word, dialogue being through speech bubbles, and there are simple ambient sounds as well as a soundtrack. The latter was too repetitive, but I just turned it down until it was just the lowest of background music. You can adjust volume across the board which I always like.
As a heads up, don’t click during a conversation. You will end it, rather than progress it. There will generally be an indication in the bottom of the speech bubble to let you know how much more of the conversation is to come (2/17 for example). Just let it play out. Ditto everything else in the game world once you have clicked (again you will get feedback on how much more is to come). Cutscenes occur which you can fast forward but I wouldn’t.
There is no active cursor to tell you where you can do something, but you do get some feedback after you try. So instead of an icon popping up to say you can look at this item, if you click on something you can look at you will get an eye icon as a result. If that sounds a little odd, it is, but I rather liked it. What it tells you is there is something going on here, but not until you make a decision to find out.
Like many games, you find items, combine them, and deploy them in the game world. Inventory items sit in a ribbon across the top of the screen, and you click and drag to use or combine. Again, you don’t have activity hotspots, but again you will get some feedback if you try to use something somewhere once you try. Or you can drag the item around the game world and see where it might generate some information.
Unlike many games, you can manipulate time, once you find the time manipulation thingamabob. It sits bottom left, and the left and right arrows are used to twiddle the dial. As you turn it forward or back, the game world changes in front of you, and fiddling to see what might occur is essential. Things decay, or grow, or fly past later or just simply turn from night into day. Too dark in a room? Perhaps its as simple as being there during the day. Fiddle to see what goes on and then work it into how you might solve the puzzle in front of you. It adds several layers to solving many of the conundrums.
Helpfully, time manipulation doesn't effect what you have in your inventory. If you take an item tomorrow you will have it if you go back to yesterday.
A little notebook sits bottom right, which contains hints and to each puzzle (a little "hoot" indicates a new entry), and its nicely done. Solve a puzzle to gain access (it works the same way each time so once you work that out its a tad uninteresting) and then a small number of pictogram post-it notes will give you insights to the solution. Choose one, or two or more than that to help, the final clue being flagged by a big black exclamation point before you look. But if you do, you might still have to work out how to make it happen in the game world. As I said, its nicely done.
N o n might also provide some helpful insights through his musings on things as you explore. Coupled with the hint system, you shouldn’t be stuck for too long.
It took me about nine hours, which was considerably less than the six years it apparently took Lars to make it. There is fun to be had here.
I played on:
OS: Windows 10, 64 Bit
Processor: Intel i7-9700K 3.7GHz
RAM: Corsair Dominator Platinum RGB DDR4 32GB
Video card: AMD Radeon RX 580 8192MB