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Nordlicht - Review

Nordlicht is a project from a small team in Germany, and the result of their final thesis. The game, however, is a full commitment, adventure, portraying incredible hand-made art, with an emotional story.

Players take the role of Aurora and her father Rupert, on an emotional journey across nostalgia under the Nordic bright sky. Aurora packs everything she needs to see her mother, while her father prepares the boat for the journey ahead. Together, they sail over large waves and thunderstorms, but nothing can stop them from reaching their goal.

Nordlicht is a simple and traditional Point & Click game, that shines through its art, in a family-friendly setting. The storyline is somehow bittersweet, but not in an extreme way, rather it pinpoints sweet moments of Aurora’s innocence while dealing with reality. It’s a lovely mix of childhood imagination with fantasy, across hope and affection.

Dialogues aren’t voiced-over, which isn’t anything to negatively point-out, and they work as text-balloons in a similar way to comic books. The script is pretty good, simple and not really pretentious, which can be appreciated if you want to play the game with the little ones or in a family setting.

As in traditional Point & Click games, the character can look, touch, and talk about specific objects or items across the interactive area. Sometimes while choosing objects, Aurora or Robert will say specific references and funny mentions, which further creates a connection with players.

The gameplay style is relaxed, but requires some thinking. It’s far from mindless clicking, even, if there is a helpful magnifying glass that once clicked, shows all the points of interest. I can most certainly imagine Nordlicht being played with the occasional guidance of an adult, as some gameplay features, might prove to be a challenge.

While interacting with objects is pretty frequent, gathering them is also part of the job, and while we’re at it, why not mix them? Light up lanterns, fix your small boat and cozy tent, among other interactions. Although there are no puzzles, some gameplay mechanics are pretty cool. When traveling, Aurora will have to smooth the waves, watch over the lightning, and even break icebergs.

As gameplay goes, Nordlicht is definitely recommended. Smooth controls that are very responsive, deliver a solid experience! What makes this game so appealing may very well be its art. Entirely hand-drawn, the locations, characters and objects, they all display a very unique style, one you would easily see portrayed in a children's book. This is the perfect artistic direction, and goes well, within the game theme.

Characters renders suit well within the game and their movement follow the design theme. Cutscenes are displayed through special scenes zoomed in or out, with special drawings, that further project the emotional factor behind the scenes.

With a minimalist soundtrack, flowing between classic and ambient sounds, the sound work is generic at best, but not in a negative way. It’s clear that it’s not the main focus, and for what it does, it accomplishes its goal perfectly, creating atmosphere and pace.

With just 3 hours of gameplay, Nordlicht is a beautiful and relaxing Point & Click, that will surprisingly wonder those naive enough to underestimate the value of this little title based on its artwork. Definitely a recommended game, even though, it could have been polished a little bit more, it’s still a solid release. Emotional and entertaining.

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