Adventure games have seen a resurgence in recent years. Games such as The Walking Dead, The Wolf Among Us, and Broken Age have provided a breath of fresh air into a so-called obsolete genre. Now thanks to Kickstarter, Jane Jensen, the creator of the critically acclaimed Gabriel Knight franchise, has finally been able to fund her new studio, Pinkerton Road. Along with her husband, composer Robert Holmes, the pair could develop the studio’s first game, Moebius: Empire Rising.
Moebius revolves around Malachi Rector, an antique dealer who travels the world hunting down artifacts. We soon find that Malachi has a unique ability to trace antiques back to the origin in history, and it’s not long before he is contacted by billionaire Amble Dexter to look into a series of events, and document them with his unique ability. Before he knows it, Malachi is in over his head and is tasked with using his unique ability to trace important political figures to their origin in time, and soon finds that not everyone wants history to repeat itself.
Moebius is a return to the old school style of point’n’click adventure games, and so you will be tasked with inspecting objects, combining items and solving puzzles throughout the game. However, unlike the old style of adventure games, Moebius’ puzzles are logical throughout and I didn’t find myself getting stuck for hours on end, which plagued most old games of the genre. That’s right, there’s no insane puzzles that would take weeks to figure out, which may upset hardcore fans of the genre, but I assure you there is still quite a bit of puzzle solving to do.
However, if you do find yourself getting stuck with some of the harder puzzles there is an built-in hint system which gives a tidbit of information on what to do next, without giving too much away. Moebius also brings a new feature to the genre. As you will be figuring out who is who in history, you will be tasked with linking important key figures to the person you are documenting, through bits of key features that the characters share, whether it’s political views, age, or even family history.
Unlike old adventure games, Moebius combines 2D backgrounds with 3D character models, which gives it a modernized feel. The 2D backgrounds are extremely detailed and visually impressive at times, making most areas throughout the game dynamic and immersive. Unfortunately, the character models feel very dated and the animation can also look slow and awkward at times. However, Moebius was made with a relatively low budget, so it understandably lacks the graphic fidelity of a Telltale game.
The voice acting in Moebius is subpar at best. Most supporting characters hold up fairly well, however, our main character Malachi lacks the charisma and charm of a Gabriel Knight, and usually delivers his lines in a dull, British accent, devoid of any emotion. However, Malachi does boast some interesting abilities throughout the game, which can surely be expanded on in future installments.
Overall, Moebius has an interesting idea, though not executed very well. The story is engaging and entertaining, although lacks character development, which could have benefited greatly to the main character Malachi. The ending is also a bit of a disappointment, lacking any real pay off and finishing abruptly. Moebius: Empire Rising feels more like ‘part one’ of a game, instead of an entire game. However, it has put down a good foundation for any potential sequels. All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed my playthrough of Moebius and look forward to any future installments within the franchise. If you’re a fan of old school point’n’click games, make sure to check out Moebius: Empire Rising.