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Munin Review

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There’s a saying that if the mountain won’t come to Muhammad then Muhammad must go to the mountain. Munin is the two’s common ground. Developed by Gojira and published by Daedalic Entertainment, this platformer follows the story of Odin’s faithful raven-messenger, Munin, on her quest to return to Asgard.

Strapped of wings and transformed into a mortal girl by Loki, Munin must traverse Yggdrasil in search for her lost feathers so as to return to Asgard. Left flightless, Munin’s hopes lie in her powers to manipulate the environment to suit her needs. Through 77 levels, Munin must solve puzzles, collect feathers and stay alive in nine magical worlds.

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Munin’s mechanics revolve around the protagonist’s ability to rotate parts of the environment to solve puzzles and open pathways with a simple goal in mind – find and pick all the feathers in each level.

By manipulating the environment and using physics to their advantage, players must forge new paths leading to the feathers. With around seven hours of game length, Munin keeps gameplay interesting by challenging players with new dangers and other objects which they can use to their advantage. Each world opens up new, exclusive assets which can be used to help the player complete the level, yet the game’s brilliance best comes out in its unique manner of incorporating fluid dynamics and physics with the challenging aspect of puzzle-solving.

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The game starts the player off with a simple tutorial. Nevertheless, it does not sufficiently cover everything. Occasionally, players will find themselves dying when getting in contact with innocent-looking traps, and Munin doesn’t always help in identifying treacherous components in the game world. Thankfully, the game counterattacks this factor by starting each world’s levels easily and increasing the difficulty gradually. Munin’s difficulty curve is reasonable, if slightly steep, and it allows players to experiment and learn about the challenges each world offers on their own.

Whilst Munin exploits the puzzle mechanisms in admirable fashion, the game lacks polish in various areas. Maybe most glaring are the sporadically-frustrating controls. Players might find themselves stuck and unable to jump, or falling off a leader, despite pressing the correct key. The game’s puzzle mechanisms sometimes also requires players to use their agility when rotating parts of the levels. This does add another dimension to the gameplay, yet it can also be demanding when using a mouse.

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Less evident, but still rather derailing, is the game’s lack of refinement in physics. Sometimes players are made to cope with boulders stuck in rock after rotating a part of the environment. When this happens, the player is forced to either restart the level, thus losing all progress, or to wait a few minutes for the boulder to fall. Unfortunately, in some levels this occurrence is rather common and becomes extremely exasperating, especially in tougher levels.

Munin’s graphics come out as winners in this 2D adventure game. Whilst the styles differ between the backdrops and the foreground, they complement each other in the best of ways and appear completely coherent. On the other hand, the dynamic fluids, such as water and lava, may seem a bit out of place at times, in particular with the game’s overall style.

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The dynamic backgrounds in Munin are a sight to behold. Seeing a giant walking behind the level is one example of the game’s backdrops, and the atmosphere they contribute sets the game apart. Not only are the backdrops spectacular, but they also help immerse the player in the game’s Norse setting. Admittedly, the contrast between the background and foreground is minimal at times, and sometimes this does interfere with the flow of gameplay, yet the effort put in is evident and rewarded.

Munin also boasts an enrichening soundtrack which coincides perfectly with the game’s Norse theme and goes a long way towards absorbing the player. Apart from the soundtrack, the game’s sound effects contribute in bringing the levels to life.

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Whilst the game puts the puzzle mechanics to excellent use, Munin’s storyline seems rather unbaked and underutilized. The game’s premise is rather promising and gives Munin a mission – that of reclaiming her lost fathers and hence return to Asgard. Ingame, however, this potential is never really exploited.

The story is never given a perspective in the game, and it only advances through cryptic poetic snippets which seem to serve simply as a background story to the ensuing world. It’s also worth noting that the game comes in eight different languages, making it easier to play for international players.

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Munin is an interesting adventure game which tries to do a lot by making use of nine distinct worlds to offer the player new, mind-bending logical puzzles to solve. While this results in ingenious gameplay, the lack of polish can become a sore thumb which tarnishes an otherwise-enjoyable experience.

Gameplay: 3

Fun, challenging gameplay which forces players to think logically to solve puzzles. Only marred by controls and physics flaws.

Graphics: 4

The refined graphics are enchanting and the backdrops tell a story of their own.

Sound: 4

The soundtrack reinforces the gameplay experience, whilst the sound effects do their job adequately.

Story: 3

Munin’s storyline is rather underdeveloped, and the game could have done with a better narrative.

Overall: 4

Munin is a challenging game which keeps refreshing gameplay thanks to new gameplay objects, yet it’s not for those looking for a hooking storyline.

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Disclaimer:All scores given within our reviews are based on the artist’s personal opinion; this should in no way impede your decision to purchase the game.

Rating:
4/5
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