GAME PREVIEW: SON OF NOR (EARLY ACCESS) / DEVELOPER: STILL ALIVE STUDIOS / PLATFORM: PC, MAC, LINUX / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW (EARLY ACCESS), FULL RELEASE Q1 2015
What’s more satisfying than using your mind to rip rocks out of cliffs, and throw them at your enemies? That’s correct. Nothing. Son of Nor tells the tale of a war between races. Humans have been massively outnumbered by the Sarahul Empire, lizard-like beings, who seek to eliminate the dwindling survivors of humanity.
Already, we’re interested. Humans are defended by Sons of Nor, people who have been blessed by the power of Nor, the God of the Night. You play a son or daughter of Nor, on a quest to save the humanity from the impending threat, and you’re given many powers by the almighty being from where the sun doesn’t shine. This gives you numerous different abilities, and an almost limitless amount of possibilities and strategies you can incorporate into the game.
An ability you possess is Telekinesis, one of the most satisfying powers to take control of. It’s extremely fun to spend time in a hub or level, throwing rocks all over the place. But that’s not the limit of your brainpower, you can also use it for puzzle solving activities - pulling giant plinths around, boards out of drawbridges, lowering them, and such like.
You also have the ability to terraform the land around you, and while this is limited only to sand, you’ll rarely find yourself without some dust to shift. Both of these powers give you numerous options, as stated above. By raising the sands underneath your feet (creating a nerdpole of sorts), allows you to reach high places, and can also be used to keep any enemies at bay. You can block enemies off with sand, or just chuck them off a cliff with a thought.
The levels are extremely well designed, mixing stealth, combat, and puzzle solving. The game has a Zelda-esque feel, which is very welcome, and there’s a multitude of enemies, all of which require different approaches to defeat.
Each level played puts something new on the table and you should never feel bored, or like you’re doing the same thing (one level required you to backtrack, but the puzzles were changed, and made more difficult, keeping the game engaging). One moment, you’re dropping rocks onto a lizard’s face from above, the next; you’re rotating pillars in order to open a door. We won’t lie; you’ll probably be humming the Secret Sound from Ocarina of Time every now and again.
This game isn’t without its flaws, but most of these are relatively small issues, that will probably be fixed over time. The text for speech or narration seemed to go by too quickly, and unless you’re reading this as Stephen King on steroids, chances are, you’d have trouble reading it all, before the next line appears. There are some occasional typing errors, but they can be glossed over for now, considering the stage the game’s development is at.
The jumping mechanics seem a bit awkward and clunky, making parkour puzzles that should be relatively easy, a hassle. It can be presumed that these mechanics can be mastered, but for now they really are troublesome. Now and again, the telekinesis controls feel a bit awkward. You may find yourselves trying to rotate something, but having severe issues with it. It’s quite temperamental, but we guess Telekinesis would be quite difficult to master in real life.You may look at a game, but after a glance merrily skip along to the next one on the list. But it’s entirely possible that you may miss out on something genuinely good. Sons of Nor is an intriguing title that fully deserves your attention, throughout its development and beyond, and we look forward to its future.