Genre:   Adventure

Developer & Publisher:  Nemoria Entertainment

Released:  July 2013

PC Requirements:   see review below

Additional screenshots   Walkthrough



by gremlin


What is it?

What do you know about Swedish folklore? Not very much, I'd hazard. Most of us have heard of the Norse mythological pantheon of Thor, Loki, Odin and so on, but the stranger creatures of folk tales, like the Svartalv (a dark elf), the Näcken (a water spirit), the Draug (like a zombie), or the Gruvfru (the wife of a mine).  Actually, players of Skyrim should recognise the Draug, or Draugr, as it rendered in that game, as the re-animated undead corpses of Nord warriors, but that's kind of not the point here.

This review is about Oknytt. An original game, using the Wintermute engine, by Nemoria Entertainment (not to be confused with Nymeria, a wolf from the Song of Ice and Fire, aka, Game of Thrones).

Everything about Oknytt is dark. The graphics are dark, the story takes place at night, and only one type of creature in the game is anything other than black and gray. Mind you, that's the Älvor (the elves) and they are tiny and bright white instead. I suspect that if you have any sight problems, Oknytt is going to be hard.

Is there a plot?

The opening of the game is in the first person perspective, with you walking towards a camp fire in a dark forest. A strange voice offers hospitality, safety and a story by the camp fire and it is this story that forms the rest of the game.

The story begins with the emergence of a small creature from under a rock into a dark night beside a stream. It appears to be the first night in the life of this odd little, furry thing with a long nose, bright eyes, but no apparent limbs. The creature is very naïve about the world, but curious about it too. And so, off we go in search of meaning.

The story develops through various parts of the forest, over the scope of a single night. The small creature must find things for other creatures, soothe hurt feelings, rescue an Älv (elf), and find a pair of wings, amongst many other tasks.

How do you play?

Oknytt is a completely mouse-driven, point-n-click adventure game. The opening screen has the normal functions on it, but also has a Lore Library and a Tutorial on how to use the game. The Lore Library begins blank, but is filled in as you encounter creatures (and some objects) in the course of the game with a description of what those creatures are.

Once in the game, you have the main scene filling the screen, with the small creature acting as your agent in the world. Hotspots are high-lighted as you move over them, but you have to explore the scene to find them in the first place. Most are fairly easy to spot. If you click anywhere on the scene, the small creature will move there (or thereabouts), and exits are a single click away too. If you double-click on an exit, you make a quick exit, without the small creature moving at normal speed across the scene. For other hotspots, you have to click and hold the mouse button down because there is a disk of three actions available at every one. You can have a description read by the narrator, or a comment from the small creature, or you can try to interact with the hotspot. Personally, I would have preferred a three-state mouse cursor (for example, where you right click to change between the three modes), but the actions disk worked ok.

Two more 'normal' features of games are available: one is an objectives list, in a scroll in the top left corner of the screen, the other is a chest in the top right corner, which is your inventory. Right clicking on screen will also pop-up the inventory. When you click to interact with some objects in the world, they go in your inventory, and at other times, other characters will give you things, which also go in there. Inventory objects can be combined to create new ones.

The story progresses through the woods, lakes and forests of the night in a number of chapters, linked by pre-rendered cut-scenes that are actually of lower quality than the in-game graphics. This is unusual in modern games, but suggests to me that the cut-scenes were rendered at a lower quality to save download space. The cut-scenes are the nearest thing this game has to action sequences; as a whole, the game is quite slow paced.

Each of the chapters in Oknytt consists of about half-a-dozen locations, some just the size of the screen, some that scroll horizontally to extend further. Puzzles are focused on inventory objects, either just applying the right one, or combining the right combinations, or understanding what the creatures of the night need from you, or upon the most unusual feature of the game: the elemental runes.

Our small creature has access to four elemental runes (that are four buttons across the bottom of the screen) that trigger events in each location based upon the four elements: earth, air, water and fire. Sometimes the resulting animations are very small and hard to spot, or subtly animated (for example, drips of water, or the gradual brightening and dimming of the stars in the night sky). Some of the rune effects are critical to solving a given location: powering a device, or shaking something loose that is initially hidden, and some appear only to be for amusement. Not all runes will work in all locations, but most will in most places.

Notable Features

The voice acting in Oknytt is all performed by one person, Brian Hall. Just like so many story tellers, and yes Oknytt really is a lot more like traditional story telling than many modern games, he is a master of many voices. The small creature, the narrative content, and a number of other creatures have unique vocal characteristics.

There is little music in Oknytt. There is atmospheric ambient sound throughout, but not what you would want to play on your stereo after the game.


The small creature (he never does gain a true name in the game) may be cute, the graphical style may be "unique" (I'm sorry, that's the best word I can use for it), and technically Oknytt is stable and glitch-free, but in my final analysis the game left me bored. No doubt other people's opinions will differ. I do actually understand that things are dark at night (where this game is set), but making a game with graphics with this degree of low contrast actually becomes an accessibility issue.

Grade: C

What do you need to play it?


OS: Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7

Processor: 2.0 GHz CPU

Memory: 1 GB RAM

Graphics: Direct X 9.0c compatible video card

DirectX®: 9.0c

Hard Drive: 1 GB HD space

(I used a home-built 64-bit Windows 7 Home Premium (SP1) PC running on an AMD Athlon 64 X2 Dual 5200+ processor, with 6 GB RAM, and a Sapphire Radeon HD4670 512MB video card, with on-mother-board, built-in sound card)


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