So there’s the god Odin, right? And he has this messenger, Munin, who also happens to be a raven. But the thing about ravens, apparently, is that if you pluck away their feathers, they become mortals…flightless mortal girls, in this particular case. Loki has scattered Munin’s feathers across Yggdrasil, and she will need to retrieve them in order to fly again. She’ll do this with an ability she retained sans feathers: manipulating the environment to access areas that are out of reach.
That’s the set-up behind Munin, as told through a quick introduction. The game’s more about setting though, than story, focusing almost entirely on the puzzles. Across 81 levels through 9 worlds, Munin will need to spin sections of the environment in order to retrieve her feathers a few at a time.
At the start of each level, you’re presented with an environment puzzle containing a certain number of feathers. Retrieve them all, and you advance to the next level, but it’s never going to be easy. To reach the feathers, you have to spin blocks of the environment, creating access to another area, so you can then spin another section to get to that.
The challenge comes in many forms. First, spinning one area to reach it can close off another, so what may have seemed easy becomes a bit more challenging. Second, you can spin the block in which you’re currently standing, so you will have to spin another area to get to neutral ground, which may pull you further away from your goal. Third, spinning one section sometimes spins a second, so you may be closing off the area you want even as you try to get nearer to it.
Then, you’ve got gravity, deadly pits, rolling boulders, and countless other hazards. Timing and physics become just as important as your problem solving skills, so quite often you may not even be sure if the path you’re taking is correct. In an early puzzle, for example, you have to repeatedly rotate one section at just the right time in order to get a boulder to drop on a rock at just the right point to make it roll where it needs to be.
This is all well and good for a while…the puzzles are mostly pretty clever, and it’s always interesting visually, especially with the background animations.
But despite the varying environments and the growing complexity of the puzzles, it starts to feel very much the same after a while. Also, a lot of the puzzles are solved via trial and error; just die a few times and you’ll figure out what you need to do. I wonder if I’d actually like Munin more as an iPad app, where I don’t expect a game to hold my attention for more than 10 minutes at a time. Solve a level, pay for the Chinese food, and drive home.
To its credit, Munin is priced at only $9.99 (currently on sale for $7.99), and you do get a lot of clever gameplay for that price. If you’re looking for a Mac or PC puzzle game that has you doing more than finding hidden objects or combining inventory items, Munin’s a nice break from the norm. But after a while, you may need a break from Munin, too.
Mac Publisher: Daedalic
Minimum System Requirements: OS X v10.5, 2.33 GHz single core processor, 1GB RAM, 2GB disk space
Review Computer: 3.2GHz Intel Core i3 iMac, 4GB RAM, 512MB ATI Radeon HD 5670
Network Feature: No
Availability: Out now