If you do not know who Jane Jensen is, she was one of the great designers at Sierra On-Line working on King’s Quest VI and the Gabriel Knight trilogy. After a hugely successful Kickstarter campaign, she teamed up with the celebrated Phoenix Online Studios to develop Moebius: Empire Rising. But does the mystery of Moebius hold up to the fantastic games that came before it?
Unlike POS’ last adventure game Cognition, Moebius is a stand-alone game and therefore not divided up into multiple episodes, as the current trend for modern adventure titles. From that, there are both some good and bad points – you do not have to wait for each episode to release to get the full game, but then the game does feel quite short in comparison (roughly around 8-9 hours of game time).
When a game leaves you wanting more, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. The story and characters were compelling and interesting. They grew and developed, and there were some nice twists and turns. And also, the voice acting is of course wonderfully done and up there with the previously high standard set from Phoenix Online!
Moebius doesn’t quite leave off on the same satisfying note as Cognition did, instead going for more of a cliffhanger ending. After getting to know the characters, I wanted to see what happened to them and their world. Of course, this does open up the series to a various number of sequels, and I would be happy to see Moebius open up some more.
I would say that perhaps Moebius’ biggest fault is the graphics. The painted backdrops are wonderful, and the character models are acceptable, but once again, the animations just seem to be a bit off-putting, occasionally taking a while to action. The models of the items painfully stand out from the rest of the art, making it very easy to see what you are able to pick up. Seemingly to get around this however, you cannot pick up everything you see – instead you’ll often need to know the reason why you would want to use an item. While this is perhaps the more realistic approach, I find it quite fun to collect a large assortment of items, and then deduce what I need to use in a certain situation and having to revisit areas multiple times to collect items hurts the otherwise built up pacing.
Otherwise, there’s no denying Moebius is great fun. There are numerous puzzles with the majority of them requiring logic and thought, instead of random clicking. Unlike other adventure titles, you are not actually solving any murder cases but finding out information about certain individuals and trying to work out a link between them and a famous person from history. It is certainly very interesting and I for one learnt quite a bit from the game. Additionally, as the main character Malachi is an antiques dealer, you also have to evaluate certain objects trying to discern whether things are genuine or fake. These unique factors greatly mix up the gameplay, none of them really being a chore.
While I do believe the ending was not up to par with the rest of the game and the animations can feel a little stiff at times, what you are left with is a very interesting and intriguing game. I think that Jane Jensen has conjured up quite the story and I would very much like to see a sequel in the future, divulging more about the characters and the world.
+ Interesting characters
+ Good gameplay
+ Very well written
- Abrupt ending lets the writing down
- Stiff animations