87Platformers have started to see a resurgence in popularity, in no small part thanks to the advancements in digital distribution of video games across all major home platforms as well as on handhelds. Over the Top Games may have just given us one of the better titles in this platforming renaissance though, as NyxQuest: Kindred Spirits released this week on WiiWare.

There is very little to complain about in NyxQuest; it’s quite the looker, it plays very smoothly, and even though the game clocks in at roughly 3-4 hours, it is packed full of diverse puzzles and levels that require you to think and think quickly in order to progress. Before anyone complains about the game length, remember that it (A) costs $10 and (B) other platformers of this length have released at retail for three times the price this year (and not necessarily with the same level of quality either). You’re going to love every second of however much time you invest in NyxQuest, so there’s nothing to worry about.

Publisher: Over the Top Games
Developer: Over the Top Games
Aug. 10, 2009

You play as Nyx, who has herself a little crush on a human named Icarus. Icarus (and his famous wings) used to visit Nyx during the day and disappear at night so she could attend to her duties as a goddess. One day, Helios, a powerful Titan, decides that he doesn’t like humanity very much, and wants to wipe it off the planet and begin anew. The once beautiful and lively Greece becomes a ruined desert filled with a scorching heat, one you must avoid as you traverse the land looking for your lost love.

To find him, you will need to move through famous areas of ancient Greece that you will recognize in name alone, as the famous monuments and buildings are for the most part toppled and buried under the sand. You control Nyx through the environment by using the analog stick on the Nunchuk, and you fly (although briefly, with a recharging number of wing flaps) by pressing the A button. You can glide with Z, and you will need to become very good at timing all of these flaps and glides in order to reach the higher areas of the levels. You learn new skills every few levels–like the ability to use the wind to guide you through certain portions of levels, or the ability to carry around fire and fireballs in order to open up rooms and vanquish enemies–and you also see brand new puzzles that are always more difficult than the ones you previously finished.

The game stacks ideas and puzzles together, and by the last few levels you will find yourself doing three or four things at a time, trying to stave off enemies, fly over gaps, avoid spikes by gliding and control blocks or fireballs in order to move further. The game preps you for this very well though, by gradually bumping up the difficulty and intelligently introducing these ideas the way they have, so you will never feel helpless; rather, you will feel like the game is a very smooth and flowing experience, despite the somewhat slow pace. In short, the gameplay is wonderful. The pace is slow at first, but it’s because of the way puzzles are presented to you, so that you can figure things out on your own and for yourself. Methodical, rather than plodding, is one way to think of it.

As for how this game looks…well, you can see it in the screens we’ve included, can’t you? The 2.5D backgrounds are epic in their appearance, and Nyx is this tiny creature facing off against both the environment in addition to the enemies in her path. They are stunning to look at, and I’m not sure what magic of the Greek gods Over the Top Games employed to make all of those assets fit under the file size limit, but they did, and WiiWare now has a new competitor for top graphics on the service because of it. The music is also very fitting and improves the experience–it reminds me of the music from the Diablo series, in that it blends in with the background and then storms out at certain points just to remind you how good it sounds.

NyxQuest problems are small ones: there isn’t much variety in the enemies, and there is never any kind of large-scale boss fight, even at the end (though there are mini-bosses scattered amongst the levels, and a final confrontation is included). It’s more of a puzzle based platformer than a pure action title though, so it doesn’t bother you as much as you think it would. If the game was constantly throwing enemies at you, it would be different, but the environment is your biggest foe throughout. The levels themselves also stay very similar at least in appearance (never in gameplay) with a few exceptions. Neither of these issues is a game-breaker though, and the good far, far outweighs any bad you may encounter in NyxQuest.

Blast Factor: Over the Top Games’ first WiiWare outing is one of the service’s best. The pacing is fantastic, the platforming is some of the best from the 2D realm this generation, and the use of the Wii Remote’s IR function in conjunction with the Nunchuk makes Nyx easy and satisfying to use. Let’s not forget that it looks just as good as it plays, either. If you haven’t already sunk your $10 into NyxQuest: Kindred Spirits, it better be the first thing you do when you finish reading this paragraph.

About The Author

Marc Normandin was gaming editor of Blast from 2008 to mid-2010. You can reach him via e-mail at [email protected], or follow him on Twitter @Marc_Normandin

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