The lights are on
What new ideas the game brings to the table and how well old ideas are presented.
How good a game looks, taking into account any flaws such as bad collision or pop-up.
Does the game’s music and sound effects get you involved or do they make you resolve to always play with the volume down?
Basically, the controller to human interface. The less you think about the hunk of plastic in your hands, the better the playability.
Flat out, just how fun the game is to play. The most important factor in rating a game.
big point-and-click adventure fan, I was excited to see Jane Jensen, creator of
the famed Gabriel Knight series, back with a new project. Moebius has an
intriguing premise, with hero Malachi Rector watching historical patterns
repeat themselves, uncovering conspiracies, and piecing together a connection
between history and present events. Unfortunately, the lackluster gameplay and
disappointing story didn't pull me in at all.
get the biggest issue out of the way first. Moebius is campy. Everything plays
out so ham-handedly that I couldn't get invested in the world and characters,
which is a persistent problem. Did Jensen intend for it to be kitschy? After
all, plenty of media pokes fun using a B-movie style; Little Shop of Horrors and Ron Gilbert's Maniac Mansion dabble in
it successfully, but Moebius' problem is how it positions itself as a serious
drama. Unfortunately, the wooden animations and unrealistic scenarios - like
luring a guard into a cell only to take him out with a karate chop - had me
rolling my eyes at the absurdity.
adventure game has a gripping world and characters, but Moebius' cast and story
are simply subpar. Malachi Rector is a savant antiques appraiser. He's
extremely logical, but he doesn't handle people or emotions well. He tells it
to people straight, which gets him into trouble. He reminds me of characters
like Temperance Brennan from Bones or
Dr. House, except they have redeeming moments and remain likeable despite their
flaws. Malachi, on the other hand, isn't likeable or compelling. This doesn't
help the story, which lacks momentum and has laughable plot twists. Malachi
begins on a mission to appraise antiques, but soon gets involved in a murder
investigation, leading to a larger conspiracy involving government officials.
of the increasing danger, Malachi hires a bodyguard named David. Throughout the
game, it's teased that David and Malachi might have more-than-friendly feelings
for one another. Despite plenty of hints, it never goes further than lip
service. I'm fine with a few unanswered questions, but these hints are dangled
in front of the player so constantly that the lack of resolution feels like a
did enjoy was Moebius' Carmen Sandiego vibe. You travel around locations like
France, Italy, and Egypt examining relics, meeting people, and learning about
history. The investigations, however, are basic match puzzles. A chest may have
a symbol on it, and you just choose from a few images to find the one that
resembles the symbol. As you talk to people, you also need to analyze them. Are
a person's ripped clothes a fashion statement or do they speak to their financial
status? If sweat is dripping on a forehead, does that mean the person is hiding
something or is the room just hot? These scenarios feel like guesswork, and can
be solved by trial-and-error.
also has plenty of the basic point-and-click puzzles, where you must find
objects and use them in the right ways. Most, however, use weird adventure-game
logic. Maybe you find a pole to try to retrieve a potential clue at the bottom
of a river - but you also need to combine it with something sticky, and that
item might be innocuous. Or you might spot something that feels like it's
merely decoration, but then it becomes part of an elaborate puzzle. I also
didn't care for some of the backtracking required. I would often see an object
and know it would be useful in a potential puzzle, but couldn't pick it up
until the puzzle presented itself.
some puzzles were enjoyable and challenged me to use my resources, others were
merely tedious roadblocks. At one point, you're investigating a government
figure with a knack for cryptography, but entering the solution is a
time-consuming chore. Some puzzle sequences also go on too long, like trying to
find a way out of an abandoned cave with various dead ends, then backtracking
through it two more times. This isn't fun or challenging - it's busywork.
Moebius is missing a
spark — something that makes you want to keep playing. It has a few shining
moments with some standout humorous lines, but they're buried in bad dialogue,
empty characters, and a dry mystery. Sadly, I don't think people will be
talking about Malachi Rector with the esteem they do Gabriel Knight.
Email the author Kimberley Wallace, or follow on Twitter, and Game Informer.