Myths of Orion: Light From the North
Year Published: 2014
Publisher: Cateia Games
Developer: Cateia Games
Myths of Orion is the most misnamed game I've played since Chronicles of the Witches and Warlocks, which had no witches or warlocks in it. Orion, as you probably know, isn't just a constellation most known for its belt. That group of stars is named for a Greek mythological figure - a giant huntsman who was immortalized in the night sky by Zeus. Orion has several different ancient stories to his name, and while not all are HOG-friendly, there's enough that it's possible to actually put him in a game that's called "Myths of Orion". But that isn't what Cateia Games did. They gave us a generic "Enchantress vs. Evil Wizard" plot that has nothing to do with Greek mythology.
Pretty scenery is one of the few things the game has going for it.
Maybe it's wrong to judge a game by its title, but since many HOGs are very similar to one another, subject matter could be important when deciding which ones to purchase and play. This is very misleading to those who have an interest in Greek mythology, but what makes it even less forgivable is that the story that's here isn't original or interesting. Strangely, the ending does explain its subtitle, "Light From the North", and although there isn't anything particularly "northern" about this game, either, they should've had that be the main title.
So, basically, Enchantress Salina stole three magical books from an evil wizard who was using their knowledge to wreak havoc. Years later, Salina has passed away, and three cloaked thieves have shown up at her sister's house to retrieve the books. As Salina's daughter, Meredith, you pursue them in hopes of reclaiming the books before they can be returned to the wizard. Along the way, you'll help a hungry orc and an injured elf, and that's about it. You can probably guess the ending.
Confronting a cloaked book thief.
Ultimately, Myths of Orion fails as much as it succeeds. The environments look pretty good for a 2014 hidden object game. They combine CG with hand-drawn art, and there's even some animation. But where it fails is in its HO scenes. The majority of them have light blooming in and out, which makes everything harder to see and is only good for causing headaches and eyestrain. I've seen this effect used in other HOGs - I don't understand why. It's also weird that you frequently obtain an item that you didn't actually find in the scene - another curious design choice I've seen in other HOGs, and I don't understand why.
The HO scenes are varied - some are lists, some are riddles, and some are silhouettes (and it's nice that Cateia Games included them for once). But there is a type I've never seen before - instead of a list, you are given just one word to seek at a time. It's original, but I don't think I'm the biggest fan of it. At least with a list, if you can't find something, you can get all the other items first to clear out the clutter.
Helping a really weird-looking orc.
The puzzles are perhaps the strongest feature of Myths of Orion. Many are new spins on old classics, but they typically were difficult enough to be engaging, but not so frustrating that I had to skip any. For one such example, the "Tower of Hanoi" is a commonly overused puzzle, but the version of it in this game, in which you build a staircase instead of just moving objects from one side to another, was refreshing.
I also enjoyed some of the "boss fights" against the book thieves (but I do tend to be a sucker for match three games). But their life meters are bugged - one hit completely drains it, so you don't actually know how many more they require to win.
Stone Golem to the rescue!
Myths of Orion ends up being very short at four hours playtime, and there's no bonus chapter. When I look over my list of reviews for other HOGs made in 2014, they're (so far) all mostly bad or mediocre. I feel like this was the era when many publishers were pumping them out to cash in on their rising popularity without innovating, and in some cases (like this one) used shady naming schemes to draw interested parties in (another one from 2014 was The Flying Dutchman, which had nothing to do with the ship's actual legend). Myths of Orion is far from being the worst HOG I've ever played, but considering its broken promises, I'm not surprised it never got any sequels.