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Monday, May 18, 2009

Morningstar - Game of the Day

What is it?Morningstar, a science-fiction first-person adventure where you’ll need to repair your crashed spaceship and escape a desolate desert planet. It’s not long before you discover that you’re not alone.

Who made it? – The game was developed by Red Herring Labs.

How does it play? – The game is entirely mouse-controlled, much like other adventure games. You’ll explore numerous environments and solve puzzles using your wits and the items you collect. Some items need to be combined in your inventory. Other puzzles will require some more thought, like a particularly tricky bit in the latter part of the game where you need to figure out and use some basic glyph-based alien language.

Presentation – The game is bookended by cinematics that are some of the most impressive I’ve encountered in the world of Flash games. From the minute the game starts until the final cut-scene, you’ll view the action from a first-person view. The stylish graphics are dark and moody, and light, shadows, and colors are used to great effect. As far as adventure games go, the game is a visual master-class.

Positives – The game does a stellar job of stuffing you into a spacesuit and invoking a feeling of dread and wonder, and the story unfolds at a reasonable pace. Most of the puzzles are rooted in logic and are well implemented, and (while open for a sequel) the game’s story feels self-contained.

Negatives – You may run into a couple of instances that’ll make you run straight for the nearest walkthrough. There are several primary locations you’ll discover in the game, and there’s a good deal of backtracking required. In the end, it all makes sense, but once a few locations are open to you, it can be challenging to figure out which puzzles to pursue, and which to defer.

Why you should play it – Giving Morningstar a try should be a no-brainer for adventure game fans; however, I encourage even non-adventure gamers to take a look. The opening (and closing) cut-scenes are truly impressive, and the overall package ranks up there with some of the best that Flash gaming has to offer.

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