On an island, in the village of Borja, lives a young viking who is… a little different from all the other rough, chiseled, stone-eating viking men. However, young Tyrim will have to face the harshness of the outside world soon enough, whether he likes it or not; to find and save the missing Viking men, including Tyrim’s own father.
Cornerstone: The Song of Tyrim is an open-world adventure puzzle game, developed by Overflow Games, following the story of a young Viking who wishes to live an easy life doing what he enjoys; Building things – which becomes very useful in your adventures. The game started off on Kickstarter and Desura, and gained popularity and support from it’s frequent “residents”. Now that the game has been released onto Steam after a very long wait, there have been some relatively satisfied players. But here is what I have to say about it.
Much of the game is already shown through the Title screen. How so? The game relies quite a bit on physics, which is very impressive for an indie game. The physics elements were well implemented. I probably clicked the wooden sign-board that fell from the sky to greet me, every-time I launched the game, numerous times before I actually played, or continued playing, the game. This being said, there have been a few physics issues as well, which I will get to shortly.
The visuals are very charming. I enjoyed playing a game that didn’t require me to look into the very pores of a protagonist to find a flaw in the mapping. The graphics, cartoonish as it may look, are fairly solid, and serves it’s purpose. I do feel the water needed some extra attention, as I nearly fell asleep sailing to the next island for clues to the whereabouts of the lost Viking men. Even some see-wead strewn about in random intervals would have had me more excited than the destroyed wreckages that you come across, every 20 meters. Then comes the part where the physics proved to have been more powerful than it should have been. There was a quest given to me by a rather grumpy Asian man. I had to bring back a recipe book from an intensely big library. After acquiring the item, the only way to bring it back to him, was by physically carrying it (as Tyrim has no bags, which leads me to wonder where he puts his building materials). I, being lazy, decided to drop the book from the 2nd floor to the bottom floor so that it would not encumber Tyrim on the way back. When I reached the spot where the book was supposed to be… It was not there. I searched high and low, near and far, and came to a conclusion: The book broke through the floor and is now lost forever. After a few minutes of high frustration, I couldn’t help but laugh and give up on the side-quest, which is now permanently inscribed to my Mission Log.
My main issue with the game comes with the “Mission Log” (or referred to in the game as the “Hints” menu), where as soon as an objective for the main quest-line has been completed, there are no automatic objective updates. I once stood with a very empty Hint menu, not knowing which direction to go to. The game also does not have any voice acting, because the developers did not reach enough on Kickstarter for that luxury, so you are forced to read the subtitles when interacting with NPCs. Which is fine enough, but after some time, it almost feels like you’re reading an interactive graphic novel.
In all honesty, I enjoyed Cornerstone: The Song of Tyrim for what it was. I will not say that I am disappointed, but I will not say that I am satisfied. I will give the game a bit of the benefit because it is an Indie game by an Indie developer. The graphics are charming, the humour is great, the physics were impressive, and the puzzles are fun. In the time that I was playing it, and was not losing my quest items, I enjoyed it. The developers seem to be continuing work on the game with a patch having recently been released on Steam, so I look forward to seeing what gets fixed and/or added in the future.
Reviewed on: PC (Windows)
Available on: PC (Windows and Mac)
Genre: Adventure, Action, Indie
Age Rating: All
Developer: Overflow Games
Publisher: Phoenix Online Publishing
Estimated RRP: R219.00
Release Date: 26 April 2016
- Throwing beehives at bandits.
- Spiders on my face.
- Losing my quest items to the floor.
- Sharks eating my ship.