One last thing I should mention: this game is Part 1 of a series, something I wish the game had disclosed upfront to set proper expectations. Tower of Shirin felt like just the right length to me and didn't leave me feeling like I had played half of a game, but the cliffhanger ending leaves Nairi way short of fulfilling her quest. I don't see this as a strike against the game, but being forewarned may save some people from being disappointed.
And I admit I rolled my eyes a bit as the creatures I met went from bug-like critters to sea creatures floating… in the air (a trend that culminated with glimpses of a whale floating in the sky). I found it a little cliché and New Age-y. The final moments were impressive and by the time I got to them, I had started enjoying myself, but it took a long time for the game to ramp up to that point.
undefined.There is hope, however, right there in the title: Baobabs Mausoleum is an episodic game, and while the first episode is aimless for the majority of the couple of hours it takes to get through it, the cliffhanger ending introduces actual stakes. Should future episodes take the time needed to flesh out the characters and give us the chance to explore Flamingo's Creek, the potential shown in the game's trailer might be realized.
The game seems to be going for a “the journey is the reward” theme, but watching the same two endings again and again quickly grows tedious and diminishes what came before it. Finding an untrodden path isn't exciting anymore when you know exactly where it leads. The story, however charmingly presented, lost its grip on me once I became aware each new situation I found myself in would have no payoff.
Snow in general is underused in games, and you don't get to explore a small mining and logging community very often in this hobby. The supernatural elements in the game had me interested right away, but the interface issues and the tone of the narration kept pulling me out of the experience. Check it out if you're looking for something new and interesting, just be prepared for some rough edges.
Despite the difficulty spike at the end, I really enjoyed playing through A Hole New World. The game scratched a very specific itch for me, and despite its problems, it ended up giving me a far better experience than revisiting the fascinating, clunky horror games of my childhood would have. Let's hope the planned fixes elevate the game even more.
I don't believe I am thinking too deeply about all this: getting the player to think about the consequences of increased automation and the power structures that lead to inequality and scapegoating is the whole point of the game. I think it's commendable and I have no doubt the developer had the best of intentions, I just hope that next time they handle such serious questions with more care.
In the end, I loved Child of Light less than I hoped I would. It is terrific to look at, and its battle system remained addictive for several hours of gameplay. The humdrum exploration, the too-repetitive (though fun) combat, and the unfocused story bring the title down after a strong first impression. I still believe it is worth experiencing, especially given the scarcity of RPGs on the Wii U, but some fundamental flaws keep it from getting my unconditional recommendation.