A stunning achievement on WiiWare.
I bought NyxQuest on a whim after thoroughly enjoying the (now defunct) WiiWare demo. It turned out to be one of the best DLC decisions I’ve ever made. NyxQuest is an incredibly inventive, engaging game that combines platforming and puzzles to create a unique, satisfying WiiWare title that every Wii owner should play.
The story takes place in the ruins of ancient Greece. Icarus has flown too close to the sun and, in doing so, met Nyx, an Olympian angel. They fall in love, but the minions of Hades steal Icarus away. Nyx flies down from the clouds of Olympus in an attempt to save him, but in doing so loses her immortality. She is vulnerable on the ground, both to environmental hazards and the black henchmen of the underworld. You control Nyx in her quest to find her lost love.
The story is rather silly and disjointed but does give some, albeit minor, context to your journey. Nyx travels through the ruins of Greece, which are being swallowed up by burning sands. Nyx will get burned if she touches the ground, so traversing the game’s many stone pillars and statues becomes your only hope for survival. When a jump appears too high, fear not—Nyx has angel wings that can briefly keep her aloft. Her flapping is analogous to Kirby’s flight, but Nyx has limited number of flaps her jump. After reaching the apex of her jump, you can hold the Z button to glide, though even that has a timer. It becomes useful to glide between flaps, and certain environmental objects can recharge your glide meter later in the game.
Sometimes, even flying isn’t enough. The
Gods quickly grant Nyx amazing abilities that the player controls with the Wii Remote pointer. Most often, you will use the pointer and the B button to “click and drag” blocks around the landscape. This is most often useful when traversing a large sand trap: just drag a block into the sand pit, have Nyx jump aboard, and drag the block to where you want to go. This may seem simple enough, but early puzzles have you negotiating the environment with essentially two characters: guiding the block through one area with the pointer while simultaneously moving Nyx through her own path with traditional controls.
Nyx’s actions are largely confined to the Nunchuck, though you do press A to jump. Later in the game, you’ll find yourself dragging a block with Nyx will avoiding oncoming fireballs and/or using those fireballs to wipe out enemies. Since you can also use the pointer to stop pillars and rocks from falling and squishing the poor girl, NyxQuest sets up some really tricky but enjoyable puzzles very late in the game that use all of your gained pointer abilities.
If a second player wants to join in, one player can control Nyx while the other player uses the pointer abilities. It’s a fun way to engage both players and spurs the kind of helpful back-and-forth that makes local cooperative co-op so fun.
The graphics are stunningly beautiful. While the entire game takes place among the ruins of Greece, it is an eye-popping aesthetic that I did not grow tired of. As you progress, day turns to evening, which eventually turns to night, giving the familiar tileset new atmosphere. The music is haunting and gorgeous. You can download the soundtrack at the game’s website and I heartily recommend it. The themes are similar but offer subtle differences based on context. They invoke ancient Greece wonderfully.
I have few complaints, though. I do wish Nyx had some kind of physical attack, because she comes off as pretty wimpy. She also lacks any sort of character—she merely functions as an avatar. Because of the pointer powers, you almost feel like you’re helping her, not playing AS her. It’s an important distinction. There are also some frustrating levels, such as a level in which a giant eye-ball follows you. If it sees you, you have to restart from the earliest checkpoint. While the checkpoints are evenly placed in this level they make things harder than they really are. Finallty, the game’s ending is rather anti-climactic. You just stumble over your goal and the credits roll. A boss or something would have been appreciated.
But for 1000 Wii Points ($10), games don’t get much better than this. If you like platformers that tickle your grey matter, you shouldn’t miss NyxQuest. The sights, the sounds, and the interesting puzzles really set the game apart from anything else on WiiWare right now.