Alright. My journey through Tonguc Bodur’s (creator of the Drizzlepath series) catalog continues. My current stop is Nephise, a charming little tale that can realistically be told in about 15 minutes, but with which you could easily spend an hour simply taking in the sights.
At it’s heart, Nephise is the whimsical, lighthearted tale of a young orb hunter named Nephise, who enjoys a nice brew, gets some sleep, and then goes on an orb hunting adventure. Her exploits could potentially be the stuff of legends! For the purposes of this tale however, she really is starting off on what could be the road to legend.
While quite simple, the story in Nephise is effective and amusing, and as such marks a bit of a departure from the more somber topic matters covered in the Drizzlepath series. While it isn’t a fully realized story, I also don’t feel it is necessary within the confines of this game. Perhaps if the series is explored in greater depth though, this will become more explicit in its conveyance. Nephise Begins is next on my list, so maybe things are even more fleshed out there.
7.5 out of 10
The gameplay in Nephise is not so dissimilar to previous titles from Tonguc, but does actually rely more on puzzles and less on actual exploration. This is driven home by the small environs crafted for the game, which really just entails a small snowy forest area near an inn, and a brief subterranean system below. There is really just one primary puzzle, but it was pretty clever in design and relies on you doing what you should be doing when playing a walking simulator: taking in and observing your surroundings. If you do so, the puzzle will be pretty obvious in design. If not, you may be wandering back and forth for a little while trying to get it just right.
Now, Nephise is an orb hunter, so you will be advised to embrace the role and find the orbs lying about the forest. There are ten in total, glowing red and pretty easy to find. My advice is: when you feel like you have found all of the ones you can, progress the story. You will find the remaining hidden orbs by doing so. Does this have an actual impact on the story? Not that I can tell. However, why not dive into the role presented, right?
As far as functionality, this is once again another example of seamless programming. No technical issues whatsoever.
9 out of 10
As always, Tonguc’s use of the Unreal engine is exemplary. This is a snow covered and beautiful world on the surface, with some interesting formations and a rad looking wolf. Once you go underground, the world really becomes stunning and somewhat different than I have seen before in a game. Really a unique and awesome looking experience. Also, the Inn itself, which functions as your intro story spot, looks quite rustic and nice.
10 out of 10
The audio in Nephise is pretty limited overall. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t sound great. It is simply limited in scope, which is consistent with the game itself, as it is very focused with limited scope overall. I thought the musical score was nice, and the old lady narrating sounded believable and fun all at once.
9 out of 10
I thought Nephise was a charming experience with a sense of fun and whimsy that I didn’t expect going in. I quite enjoyed it as the first entry into Tonguc’s second series of games. I am very interested to see what will happen next.
8.875 out of 10, which of course rounded up will be 8.9 out of 10. I definitely recommend this if you want a peaceful and charming experience.