Cibele is the new game by Star Maid Games. The game revolves around a 19 year old girl named Nina who spends the majority of her free time playing an online game called Valtameri. There she plays with Ichi – a young boy who she casually talks to and eventually shares intimate feelings with. The story follows the two as they play Valtameri and grow closer and closer together.
Platform: PC(Steam) and Mac
Developer: Star Maid Games
Cibele starts out on Nina’s desktop. From here you’ll be able to read her previous blog posts, poetry homework and saved pictures. There are 4 programs; Valtameri, Email, Files, and an Instagram clone. You can go in and look at all the emails and files to get some backstory on your character Nina and then jump into Valtameri to progress the story.
Valtameri is the majority of Cibele. It’s a Diablo style point and click except everything is bright and colorful. In the game you play Cibele, Nina’s avatar and as your fighting monsters, you have an in game voice chat with Ichi, Blake’s avatar. When you’re playing Valtameri, other players in the game send Cibele messages just like a regular online game. You can also send replies which give the story more depth. After you kill enough enemies, a boss appears and you attempt to defeat him. The boss only takes on a handful of damage before fleeing and you have to kill more enemies to force him to appear again. After the boss is defeated, the level ends and a live action cut scene plays to advance the story into the next act. At the beginning of each act you have new items on the desktop as time progresses at least 3 months at a time. There are new photos, emails, and blog posts to read and of course a new level of Valtameri where Cibele and Ihci advance their online romance.
What I like:
Cibele has an interesting story that some gamers may have experienced: an online connection with someone they’ve never met who lives on the opposite edge of the country. I’ve met plenty of people playing World of Warcraft and even though I no longer play, I’m still friends with these people. I even met my wife through the internet. In Cibele, you grow attached to Nina and Blake and follow their story, eagerly advancing to the next act to see what happens next.
What I didn’t like:
This is a point and click game and when playing Valtameri I’ve had issues playing the game. Cibele can’t walk on lava or through walls which but everything else can. Even Ichi has a godlike ability to go anywhere and attack enemies while I have to point and click Cibele to reach the enemies and bosses. This is frustrating because the boss moves all over the place which if he happens to run across on to the lava or through a wall. If the boss were to engage Cibele, it would be a huge improvement.
Length of the game:
This game is short. It took me 2 hours to play through the game and according to the press release, this was an intentional feature of the game. I could overlook the length of the game if the story didn’t end abruptly. I won’t spoil the ending of the game, but I wish that the story was longer and gave the player closure. It felt like I was watching a movie and the projector burnt out half way through.
Overall, Cibele has a lot of potential to be a great game. However, Cibele feels rushed and leaves me wanting more out the game than just one linear story. Ciblele does a good job of simplifying a complicated online romance without making the gamer feel confused about what’s going on. I wish that I could replay the game and get a different outcome or maybe choose to pursue a different person in the game if I felt that character was more appealing than Blake.
Even with it’s faults, Cibele is an impressive game that was made with one programmer, one animator, and one writer. Star Maid Games employs a lot of talented individuals that have the potential to make a huge game given a larger budget and more time to complete it.