Sunday, June 17, 2012

realMyst [Cyan Worlds] - $9.99

Myst. For a lot of gamers the name conjures up great memories, fantastic gameplay, and one of the most innovative games of the 90’s. The first time I played Myst was in 1999 during my 3 free periods in High School. It took me about two weeks to complete the game, but it’s stuck with me after all these years. I had heard about a ‘realMyst’ which was done in a type of first-person gameplay incorporating free-roam, but I never got the chance to play it. Now, almost 20 years after it’s original release, realMyst has been ported over to the iOS, and I’ve been extremely excited to dive back into the game after all these years, being able to experience it in a new way.

If you’re new to Myst, it was originally a point and click puzzle adventure title done in a first person view that had you thrown onto an island and left the rest up to you. There was no tutorial, no one telling you where to go or what to do, you had to figure it all out on your own. There were clues left in notes around the island, and little clips found in books and strange machines that guide you along and give you backstory. It took me about 10 tries before I actually got into the game because I never knew what to do, until a friend told me where the first note was, and then I was off, totally immersed in the world, exploring the island through the different ‘ages’ solving puzzles, backtracking, gathering clues, and loving every minute of the gameplay. 

The controls fit perfectly with the touch screen, dragging to look around, tapping and holding to move forward, doing a double tap and hold to sprint, and touching two fingers to the screen to move backwards. Everything within the game can be dragged or tapped to be activated, and like most other point & click games, feels like a perfect fit for the iDevice. 

The graphics in realMyst are fantastic. The atmospheres and environments are beautifully crafted, and full of seemingly esoteric structures that eventually come to life before your eyes. Unfortunately, there are some notes within the game that are pretty blurry, and hard to read. There’s also some very noticeable drops in frame-rate and jitteriness while exploring the world. This does wind up knocking you out of the immersion a bit, but it doesn’t really harm the gameplay. Myst is not an action oriented game, no one is chasing you, and you’re not under a time limit to find clues so you’ll never die because you couldn’t move fast enough or because a couple frames were skipped. But it would be nice if there was a way to optimize the game, even at a drop in frame-rate, so that you’re not constantly reminded that you’re playing a game. But it’s easily one of the most graphically impressive games I’ve ever had the pleasure of experiencing. The music, ambience and sound effects are also just as fantastic as the graphics, and fit in perfectly with the settings, adding immensely to the atmosphere and feeling of the environments throughout the entire game. 

It might take a while to actually get into the game, and figure out what to do in some parts, but the main thing is to keep at it, keep exploring, keep looking at everything, switching levers, touching books, pictures, and knobs, and you’ll slowly progress through one of the most amazing games to date, and find out why some gamers call Myst an experience that borders on being referred to as art more than a game. realMyst is only available for the iPad 2 and 3rd Generation iPad, and priced at $6.99 for launch, with the price set to go up to $9.99 soon. There is no GameCenter integration, which is kind of disappointing, as achievements for Myst would have been a wonderful addition, and would have added to the drive to really explore every little inch and crevice throughout the entire game. 

If you’ve experienced Myst in the past, realMyst’s gameplay and feeling is different enough that it’s worth checking out again. If you’re new to Myst, realMyst is quite possibly the best version you could check out, and even at the regular price of $9.99, is more than worth every single penny you’d spend on it, even with the couple of issues within the game. Being able to have Myst on my iDevice is still pretty surreal, and I’m going to fully enjoy every single minute I spend exploring and solving the puzzles all over again. It’s definitely one game that every person who calls themselves a gamer should experience, and with this iOS port, it’s yet another opportunity to do just that. 


Post a Comment