4cr Plays The Mysterious Cities of Gold
What a charming game. What a charming world, this land of Mysterious Cities of Gold.
The first I had heard about this series was from Kickstarter; a game looking to get made on the Wii U. It looked gorgeous. I thought it was just another beautiful indie game. Then some of the 4cr staff started telling me it was a classic Japanese/French cartoon from the 80′s. Makes sense they would have heard about it since most of our staff is somehow Canadian. Damn you Canadians, infiltrating us with all your niceness and… just nice niceness.
Anyway, turns out it’s a pretty revered and great old animated series from the early 80′s about a group of young friends looking for a family member and shockingly, a mysterious city of gold, somewhere in South America in the 1500s.
Now there is a brand new, totally shiny television series out. I’ve only managed to track down some trailers so far, but I believe that is where all of the amazing animated cut scenes in the game come from. It really is very pretty.
And the game itself (sorry for the long intro) is also very pretty. It uses hand drawn art for character profiles during the game and the cut scenes. But the in-game artwork is equally as nice. The 3D models of the characters somehow all look animated. It’s not cell shading, but just really good modeling with simple colors and good lighting. The worlds are pretty beautiful too, if a tiny bit repetitious.
The game itself is huge. There is a lot to play here. It’s structured a bit like a mobile game with short levels and a nice little map menu between each one. Each level sees you manipulating the games three main characters in a Lost Vikings sort of way to collaboratively accomplish goals. Each character also has a certain strength that allows them to control certain items.
It’s fun and clever so far, though I’m only about halfway through. That is saying a lot in a month where Zelda: A Link Between Worlds and Super Mario 3D World have dropped. What has kept The Mysterious Cities of Gold playing on my Wii U is how great of a game it is on the Gamepad. Having this game, with it’s lovely orchestrated soundtrack, playing on my Gamepad while I work or make dinner, leaning over to navigate a part of a puzzle from time to time, has been great. Its slow pace is actually nice. Enemies, so far anyway, don’t actively seek you out. They run paths and you have to sneak around them. These kids are too small to fight anyone.
And it’s really fun to play on the Gamepad because it is all touch screen controlled. You tap to move a character to a location. Tap to have them interact with things. Tap icons to swap characters. In fact, my only gripe about the game is that trying to play on the TV because I wanted to enjoy the nice visuals on the big screen, proved a little annoying because I still had to use the touch screen to point to things. It was a weird disconnect.
Other than that, if you are looking for a gorgeous looking and sounding puzzle game with a nice calm pace, interesting Lost Vikings style puzzles, and the danger of developing an addiction to a classic animated show, give it a shot. It’s worth your money and it’s a great addition to the Wii U library.
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