Riven: The Sequel to Myst Review

Any fan of adventure games knows about Myst, and the series it inspired. Its sequel, Riven, is now live on the app store, and it does not disappoint. The game’s beautiful graphics, mysterious puzzles, and soothing ambiance will quickly pull you into its immersive world, and you won’t regret it.

Riven uses the same point-and-click mechanic that Myst had, which still works quite well on the iDevice. The game is primarily composed of still images, with interactive elements, and the occasional videos. The videos are pretty seamless, and experienced players even have the option of skipping through those segments. There are very few other mechanics to worry about, because it is a pretty low-maintenance game.

Always wanted a house on a lake.

There are four different save slots, an excellent auto-save feature, and a few settings with which to tinker. One of our favorite settings is you that can highlight interactive elements on the screen if you shake the iDevice, or just leave it idle for long enough.

The reason that we appreciate the occasional hint is that Riven is a deep, immersive, and puzzling game. It is easy to sink into the world of the D’ni and enjoyable to explore the multiple islands, careen along skyways and crawl through tunnels and hidden doors. This game is not for everyone, however. It takes great patience and an engaged mind (and even a journal) to pick up on all the clues and piece them together. As the in-game guide says, ‘It’s not easy to die.’ This game is not meant to be stressful or fast-paced.

A precursor to Bioshock?

It does face the same problem as Myst on the iDevice, however, which is that it has an impressive memory footprint. This is not really the fault of the developers, because Riven was a more advanced, memory-consuming game than Myst, but it is a problem for those tight on space. It takes up 1GB, and it requires at least 2GB of free space to install– after which you can fill up that second gigabyte with whatever you desire. The compression to this size from the original also causes an unfortunate decrease in image quality as well. Most of the time this is hardly noticeable, and the landscapes from afar are especially beautiful. In a few cases, however, it does make discerning small details difficult, especially on the smaller iPhone & iPod Touch screens.

All in all, Riven is exactly what we hoped for, and we’ve enjoyed reliving the rich experience and the multi-faceted puzzles. It is uncertain if the series will continue making its way to the App Store, because the later games changed hands to different developers and publishers. For the meantime, both Myst and now Riven are here to keep avid adventure gamers happy.

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