You knew it would happen, but were utterly powerless to prevent it. When a routine colonization mission goes awry and your ship bites down hard onto the vast frozen tundra of the wrong alien world, its supply of construction materials scattered broadly across the unfamiliar landscape, what remains of the crew have formed tiny village communities around whatever they've happened to salvage in their vicinity. It's up to you to establish contact with these tiny tribes and reunite the fragments of your advanced civilization as you gradually learn more about the unique and subtle menace at work in this strange new land — and your own personal influence on a force whose nature and destiny are warped around and bound inextricably to your own. An intricately-detailed game world meets classic SNES-era gameplay in srehpog's Zelda-like action-adventure, Ark 22.
Handling is also pretty SNES-like, using the [arrow] keys, [z] [x] and [c] for most options, [enter] to confirm menu options and [spacebar] to slash. Coffee of various types is a consistent theme throughout the game, and it actually recovers your hit points. It's not only dispensed from machines, but — in a glorious example of "Nintendo logic" — also dropped by the mice that wander around the planet's surface and dungeon. Some mice will drop ammo cartridges as well. Space Advice: If you ever go to another planet and the mice are scurrying around drinking endless cups of coffee and packing ammo clips, you're almost certainly not at your intended destination.
You'll trek through the world discovering more about the main plotline as you progress, but interspersed throughout are various mini-games, side-quests, and dungeons where both your deft reflexes and your puzzle-solving abilities will most certainly be taxed. In fact Ark 22 has been consistent in terms of player response as being a couple notches too difficult for most, and some of the boss monsters are tougher than you'd encounter in a conventional title. But it's been around for years now, accruing a loyal following of casual gamers. Ark 22 is a difficult game to put distinctly into one category. It plays like Zelda, but the logic puzzles in some of the dungeons are nothing to snooze through. There are mini-games, but the rewards of playing them are vital to the overall plot. Upgrading your equipment through NPC interaction also figures in, but it's not quite an upgrade game. Ark 22 is really its own unique indie cross-genre creation, with its own sense of challenge level, and whether you love it or you don't is going to be a very personal assessment as well. Either way, what everyone can agree on is that with years in the making Ark 22 features a thoroughly-developed game world and storyline, presented with a puckish, lighthearted sense of humour that makes it a pleasure to encounter.
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