(After playing and loving The Guild of Thieves, I was curious about Magnetic Scrolls’ other games. In my decision for a second game, I fear I have chosen unwisely: Myth - Details (ifdb.org)
Gods of Tedium
As I was reading the intro-screen for Myth I became excited about playing this game. I love the set-up: an Olympian God, none other than Poseidon, Ruler of the Seas, is set a task to prove his worth to Zeus. Poseidon is temporarily bereft of his Godly Powers, to prevent him just barging through the quest while riding a tsunami I suppose…
Poseidon has to trust on his wits and smarts. I had hoped this would make him a Trickster God for the duration of this adventure, joining the ranks of Hanuman, Anansi, Coyote, Loki (please forget about Marvel’s travesty of the Norse deity. The Loki from the Eddas is a much more ambiguous and mysterious character.) Poseidon does become a bit of a trickster on at least one occasion (the second is debatable…).
I love Trickster-characters, godly or otherwise. They bend the rules, lay bare the presuppositions of individuals and society, kick against the status quo. I have often wondered why there are not more adventure games which feature a Trickster-protagonist. Perhaps it is at least partly because the Trickster’s tricks often involve manipulating social conventions and human preconceptions through clever communication, and creating subtle and layered character interaction in IF is hàrd.
But I digress…
The game starts with some classic solid text-adventuring. The action takes place in Hades, the Underworld. Even though it consists of a limited set of locations, the descriptions do a good job of evoking the desolate and barren plains and the hopelesness that pervades them. To gain access to Hades’ (the god) palace, you must first cross the river Styx. Here, the adventure-groove creaks to a halt as you must solve two long and annoying puzzles to get everything you need to enter the palace.
Reading a bit more about the history of the game, I found that Myth was a freebie for new members of the “Official Secrets”-adventure club, and it was revamped for rerelease as recent as 2020. This makes me wonder if the two long and annoying puzzles I mentioned are just filler-material to make a bigger game out of what was a bite-sized gift-packet. In any case, I would have much preferred a gratuitous maze instead of these two. Apart from being less tedious, a maze would have fit the setting better than an unmotivated logic puzzle (the cardgame was okay, it just took waaay too long).
Once past the river Styx, the game resumes its classic adventuring tone with another solid series of puzzles, then ends somewhat abruptly.
There are certainly some clever and elegant sub-puzzles in Myth that gave me that “Aha!”-moment. The writing takes some funny jabs at the mythological source material without becoming silly parody. It’s very evocative within the sparse constraints of the descriptions.
These good qualities however are sadly swamped down by the fact that, without looking at the walkthrough, more than half the playtime will go to a seemingly endless cardgame and a rusty get-the-objects-to-the-other-side-of-the-river-following-these-rules-I-just-made-up logic puzzle.