Thinking about the genre of point-and-click adventures will almost immediately conjure up memories of obtuse, maybe even ridiculous puzzles. Some may think of the Monkey Island games from way back when, while for others, newer titles like Thimbleweed Park might come to mind. For both camps, the seasoned and the slightly-fresh, most see difficulty as a defining trait for the genre.
Thankfully, that taste for difficulty hasn’t prevented developer illius from creating a beginner-friendly adventure, fit for all ages and fit for all gamers. Nordlicht is a fun, short, and, importantly, simple point-and-click adventure which left me charmed with not only the overstuffing of cuteness in its tale of a father and daughter’s journey to visit her mother but also its puzzles which, when flying through them, make for a beautiful few hours that feels satisfying while coming nowhere close to overstaying its welcome.
Nordlicht is Point-and-Click 101
Nordlicht is a game made for everybody, except maybe hardcore fans of the genre. It’s for beginners, the ones who still expect logical answers to the puzzles in their games, who haven’t yet felt the tedium of attempting to brute-force their way through a particularly tricky puzzle, or felt the deep excitement when something unexpected actually works.
No, Nordlicht is a much more pleasant few hours than that. The journey of Aurora, Rupert, and the guinea pig Peter is split into four acts, each act spanning just one or two areas. A touch of the tab key highlights all interactable objects, and there’s always something around to give you a hint of what to do next. It also doesn’t keep its puzzles to just “put this here” or “combine these things,” but peppers in dialogue and interaction puzzles along the way. It’s never hard but is still able to introduce basic elements of the genre.
Pretty Pictures and Soothing Sounds
The story is presented through still-mage cutscenes and in-game dialogue, telling a simple and heartwarming tale. With a lovely hand-drawn art style and a moving lullaby soundtrack, even the occasional small graphical glitch couldn’t stop the game’s presentation from keeping me engaged in the small world Nordlicht takes place in.
The game’s writing is often clunky in the way that translations often are, but it never significantly affected my experience or understanding of what characters were saying.
There is also the occasional action sequence when the family is traveling the seas by boat. The gameplay consists of managing speed while dealing with storm clouds and rogue waves by clicking and dragging. It’s a simple system, and it is when the Nordlicht feels at its most made-for-children. In addition, not only are these sections overly-easy, but they are hampered by their touch control origins.
With numerous references to tapping and touching and the sailing minigame’s suitability for touchscreens which is immediately apparent, it’s obvious that Nordlicht was meant for mobile devices, something its length and price tag support. Still, it’s more than serviceable with a mouse and keyboard.
Family-Friendly, but still Fun
Nordlicht is a family game. Anybody can pick it up and enjoy it, but it’s also a really great entry point into the genre. For anyone who hasn’t played a point-and-click adventure and to whom starting with the classics like Day of the Tentacle or Grim Fandango seems a daunting task (and it is), Nordlicht provides a beautiful and fun start to your own adventure into the genre that can be wrapped up in an afternoon.
TechRaptor covered Nordlicht on PC via Steam with a code provided by the developer.