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Nominee, Best NPCs; Nominee, Best Individual PC - 2004 XYZZY Awards
One of the things that I wanted to see in part 3 was more team work. Well, that wish was fulfilled beyond my wildest dreams. In this, the final part of the story, you play both Emily and Austin Colborn. You can freely switch between controlling one or the other at any time. In fact, it is critical to do this in order to figure out which of them will have the needed super-power to get past whatever is blocking the path. This game is much more tightly timed than parts one or two. This is especially true of the final battle, which is a desperate race against the clock with little room for error.
-- Adam Myrow
Overall Luminous Horizon is a great way to pass the time and nice conclusion to the saga started by Earth and Sky. While it might not be the most challenging text adventure you're likely to come across, it is still amusing and certainly has made its mark in the annals of interactive fiction.
-- Jennifer Maddox
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There's kind of an illicit thrill in playing a real superhero in IF. For decades now, the overwhelming majority of IF characters have been decidedly un-super in their abilities. Really, they're incompetent, unable to perform even the simplest and most intuitive tasks unless they have exactly the right tool for the job (>BREAK THE SMALL GLASS BOX WITH THE HAMMER | "A valiant attempt."). This is what makes playing the Earth and Sky series (especially in the role of Austin) so refreshing. When you encounter a pair of massive steel doors in Earth and Sky, you don't need to faff around for hours finding the rusty key or inserting the crystalline cylinder or answering a riddle. You simply SMASH THE DOORS. It's a nice bit of therapy for emotionally-scarred IF players.
I really enjoyed the first two games in the series, which combined humor, comic-book action, and a relentless focus on ease-of-play to great effect. Luminous Horizon continues in the same vein, but it's not quite up to the level of the others. The second (and strongest) game centered on an extended puzzle which combined multiple objects and rooms in a pretty satisfying way. Most of the puzzles in the third installment are just variations on SMASH THE DOORS. It's fun and cathartic, but not as rewarding as something a little more elaborate would have been.
One nice feature of Luminous Horizon is the ability to switch back and forth between control of the two siblings, which you'll naturally need to do several times to complete the game. Each sibling sees and describes the world in a different way, which adds a real richness to the experience of playing them.
The author does a good job of eliminating frustration. Like with the other two installments, it's impossible or at least extremely difficult to make the game unwinnable, which is always appreciated. The game also implements a nice (and customizable) conversation system, where you can choose from a menu of replies, ranging from the sincere to the snarky. Unfortunately, your choices don't matter very much -- the game proceeds pretty much the same way no matter how you choose to play the characters.
The conversation system also provides built-in hints. In principle, if you get stuck, you can TALK TO your sibling and get nudged in the right direction. After repeated nudges, the sibling may just solve the puzzle for you. However, for the most challenging puzzle in the game, the hint system is nothing of the kind. It's actually a misdirection system, focusing your attention on something which is almost entirely unhelpful at the moment the advice is being dispensed. Be warned.
At times, it feels like more was planned for the game than was actually implemented. There are areas with interesting objects that can be manipulated, but which don't ultimately matter. There are story threads which seem like they'll be featured prominently (like (Spoiler - click to show)rescuing Dr.
Andrews), but which get resolved off-screen. I'd be interested to see what could have been done with this game in a longer format.
If you've played and enjoyed the first two Earth and Sky games, then you certainly ought to give Luminous Horizon a whirl; it's a decent conclusion to the series, and you'll want to know how it ends. But it's not quite as satisfying as it could have been.
A short, linear game. Luminous Horizon is the 3rd installment of the Earth and Sky series and it helps to be familiar with the first two to follow the story.
The game allows you to control two characters, brother and sister, both with super power suits, "Earth" and "Sky." A command "change" allows you to instantly change between them. Earth has super-strength and near invincibility as his special powers, and Sky is able to fly, fire electrical bolts, and create fogs.
The story truly has the flavor of a comic book, with colorful graphical "kapows," and numerous storyline and dialog cliches taken straight from superhero comic books. The humor in the game is based on making fun of these cliches. A link to a comic book feelie, which provides background info for those who forgot details from or haven't played the other two games, for the game can be downloaded.
The puzzles themselves fit in well with the superhero theme. I don't think it's too much of a spoiler to say that many of the puzzles are solved by using your team's superpowers and action-comic logic. Some of the puzzles are very easy, and some are more difficult requiring wandering back and forth until a "eureka" moment arrives. None of the puzzles are super hard or overly complicated, and talking to your sibling will give progressively bigger clues if you get stuck.
The game is well written, and far as I can tell, bug-free.
This is part 3 of Earth and Sky. I played the second one only a few weeks ago, but I already forgot an important power of the characters, and it made the first puzzle very hard for me. However, talking to to each other enough gives you all solutions.
You play two characters, one with sky powers (flying, zapping, fogging), and one with earth powers (punching, lifting, jumping). You are trying to rescue your parents.
The game is pretty short, with a linear sequence of puzzles that you have to solve one-by-one. The writing was good, the graphics were fun (mostly "BLAM!"-type comic words). I was disappointed that I had forgotten so much of the plot from the last playthrough.
This game is very good, but not the best. I think that a few of the other games from 2004 IFComp were better, but that the whole set of 3 Earth and Sky games make a very good package, like a Chopped chef that wins because of three solid courses, while the other chefs had one incredible course and a few poor courses.
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