Son of Nor is a action/adventure game developed by StillAlive Studios and published by Viva Media. As a Son of Nor, consecrated by the Goddess of the Night, you are all that stands between the human race and total extinction. After a vast war, involving the humans and a race of lizard people called the Sarahul, only one human enclave remains in the vast desert world of Noshrac, a hidden refuge called The Edge. After 400 years of peace, humanity’s ancient enemy the Sarahul appears once more, forcing you into an adventure to save your people.
Armed with telekinesis and terraforming, the gifts granted by the goddess Nor, you will explore the world of Noshrac, fighting through enemy territory and uncovering long-forgotten secrets. On your journey you will discover mysterious structures created by an ancient race that are filled with puzzles and traps – and the key to mystical powers unlike any you’ve ever seen.
On paper, Son of Nor sounds like an amazing adventure that will be remembered for years to come. A war involving several races of humanoid like creatures, the ability to use the world around you as a weapon, and beautifully sculpted environments should make for an entertaining playthrough. The key word there is should. When put into practice the gameplay just doesn’t hold up. The combat in Son of Nor is directed by a little circle in the center of your screen. Point that circle at a target and click a corresponding button to unleash powerful telekinetic and elemental attacks. Try to look behind you or even look to the side of you to make sure you are not about to be ganked and you untarget the person in front of you. This makes combat very stressful when you are being attacked from all sides.
Speaking of the combat, if I had to describe it in on word it would have to be “promising”. It is fun to lift up several boulders at once and lay waste to everything in front of you. Completely obliterating foes by tossing them off cliffs, burying them in the sand, smashing them with rocks, and even setting them ablaze is an exhilarating experience. However, get more than four enemies on you at once and you are as good as dead. The problem is that it’s hard for the telekinesis to keep up with your fast moving lizard-men adversaries. I spent most of my time in combat wondering why my character didn’t have a melee attack of some kind. Being able to just punch some enemies would have made my life a lot easier.
If there is anything that Son of Nor does right, it would have to be the beautifully sculpted puzzles. From huge moving environments to directing beams of light, Son of Nor’s puzzles are without a doubt the best part about the game. It is in the puzzles where the game stops being a button spamming competition and starts making you think critically. However, all of that ingenious design is washed away with spotty controls. Half the time what I tell my character to do, he won’t do. Or he will do it in the wrong direction. Or he will grab something completely different. This makes the puzzles that should not be that hard suddenly increasingly difficult.
While there is a bare bones back story, there is no character development in Son of Nor. No one you truly end up rooting for by the end of the game. Just a bunch of people telling what you should be doing as you following every mission with blind faith. This does little to immerse you in the war that is happening around you and makes you wonder why you should even care in the first place.
All in all I see what StillAlive Studios was trying to do with Son of Nor. They had a lot of good ideas that just needed to be polished a tad bit more before being released to the public. The combat is fun, the puzzles are engaging, and the plot had a lot going for it but at the end of the day Son of Nor feels like a game that is half complete. This game would have definitely benefited from a little extra time on the drawing board. Sadly, what we are left with is a game that leaves you wanting more and wondering what could have been.
A Little Rough Around The Edges
Gameplay - 5/10
Design - 7/10
Controls - 3/10
+ Entertaining combat
+ Engaging puzzles
– No character development
– Spotty controls
– Bland story