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The Void


"You mind has a taste for adventure and we've got the game to fill it"

In the planet Nodus, there is a ring of magical orbs that ensure great power to those who own them. To ensure the safety of his people, the good king of Nodus discovered these orbs and sought to collect them so that the orbs could never fall into evil hands.

But upon finding the orbs, the King discovers of Krylin, a wicked creature seeking the power of the orbs to fill its own evil energies. In hopes of preventing such an evil force from gathering all this power, the King scatters these orbs across the kingdom and hires you to find the orbs again before Krylin can discover that they are no longer in the King's possession. But before your quest begins, you must pass a simple test...

Graphics (n.)
The use of animation and visual effects to stimulate the senses
A lot of QB gamers miscategorize this game as an RPG instead of a Puzzle/Adventure game because the view of this game is overhead, much like Dragon Warrior, the SNES Final Fantasy series, and a lot of other classic console RPGs. The Void even comes with that slight tileishness that is simply a trademark of the RPG genre.

But The Void is more than just these RPG graphics, as a lot of subtle graphic details were attributed to this game. One nice touch is the clean day/night element that takes place in this game. If you just sit there for a while you actually see the town fade as if nighttime is coming. There's even a subtle change of the palette that simulates the sun rising before morning begins.

Another nice touch is the different pieces of attire that the main hero uses in each of the towns. Appropriately, he only wears his winter gear when walking in the snow! A nice touch, and we certainly do notice. And Ribbonsoft even threw in some flickerfree animations and more subtle details... all in all, nothing will blow your mind here but The Void certainly does hit the graphic standard.

Sound/Music (n.)
The smooth blend of atmospheric sounds and original harmonies
I don't think The Void has it's sound and music capabilities 100% functional left, but there are some signs of life if you listen to your PC speakers and sound card. I was able to hear a light humming noise whenever you do something stupid. Maybe it's an accident, but it does give your ears something to listen to (which is a lot more than some other QB games).
Gameplay (n.)The precision of control and involvement of character within its universe vvv
The gameplay in this game is very easily what makes The Void stand out among other QB Puzzle games. You get the feeling as soon as the opening demo clears and you're taken to a town whose only purpose is to change the game's sound, music, and control options.

As soon as the setup is done, you're taken to the first town in the game. Your mission is to find the key in the middle of this busy town so you can unlock the door and prove your worthiness to the king to take on a grand adventure. But it won't be as easy as inching your way around a cave... in this puzzler you have to talk to everyone, find items, and know how to use the items on the game's various objects. This is literally the kind of mind-boggling propaganda that Strategy Guides were made for (note that we're working on ours for you guys as we write this review!)

Ribbonsoft's decision to use the mouse for this puzzle game is excellent, as it gives you easy access to your items and walking around, all without the extra trouble of going to a menu screen or sifting through an items list. 

Story (n.)
The creativity and presentation of the game's critical plot
If this game got any story points, it certainly wasn't for its originality. The fact that you have to hunt down for orbs reminded me a lot of Final Fantasy I, and fragments of this game's plot development stem directly from some PC puzzle/adventure game classics.

What I did like about this game are the cleverly animated demo sequences. After you accomplish each of the game's mini-tasks, you're treated to a cut-scene where you figure out what happens to all the other off-screen characters in the game, including some of your closest friends and most canniving villains. So, while the whole "gotta catch the orbs" thing isn't so original, at least you see some solid plot development along the way.

Replay Value (n.)
The timelessness of the gamer's delight, such that the experience can be repeated again and again
It takes a little getting used to the fact that this bird's eye-view game is not a QBRPG but in fact a very involving Adventure-type game that requires you to utilize items instead of bludgeoning everything you see. But once you get deep enough into the game and you can travel to more places, The Void develops a sort of addictive itch. And once you reach the end of The Void's demo, you'll probably look back at all the clever things you've done, all the adventures you've had, and play the game through again.
Challenge (v.)
To strike the mental nerve in such a way as to stimulate human thought and reflexes
Ironically, it's the challenge factor that appears to be the Achilles heel for this interesting Puzzle/Adventure game. The problem with The Void is that there wasn't a lot of creativity thought out in terms of the game's puzzles. One of the puzzles early on in the game is to find some purple paint to give to a friend. Not to spoil the obvious, but there just happens to be a red bucket and a blue bucket laying around in the middle of nowhere! Mix it up and BAM! You got purple paint.

To make matters worse, the puzzles that required some thinking were ripped out of  Lucasfilm's popular PC/Sega CD game, Monkey Island. I was particularly aggravated when I found a Grog Machine (a popular Monkey Island item) in the middle of what I thought was going to be a heartwarmingly, original QB game... some more original, creative puzzles would have been nicer.

Fun Factor (n.)
The overall entertainment value as maintained throughout the adventure
The Void was not fun at first because the controls do take a little getting used to and the mouse routines still need a little polishing around the edges. I also thought that the Ribbonsoft logo and the British flag in the beginning of this game were a nice touch, but after turning on the game for the tenth time I wished there was a way to skip the minute-long intro and go straight to the game.

And what a game it is. Though The Void would have really been great had there been some music and maybe a little more attention to graphic detail, these faults are really expected of a demo this young. What else can you say but, "So far, so good." Now if some original, tricky puzzles are thrown in for the rest of The Void you can expect this demo to be climbing up the charts by the time Ribbonsoft finally releases the complete copy of this game.

Players 1-2 players
Genre: Puzzle/Adventure Game
Rating To solve: 3-4 hours Final Rating: 16/35

To download this game, click here.
Installation Tips
wTo play The Void, unzip the file and run "INSTALL.EXE". Then, follow the installation instructions.

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