Moebius: Empire Rising is the first installment in a new series of games by Jane Jensen (creator of the bestselling Gabriel Knight series and Gray Matter). Moebius follows historian/antique collector Malachi Rector and his dangerous adventures into the underbelly world of antique collecting. Seriously the shady types he deals with usually ends in fist to cuffs or a shootout.
I myself am not familiar with the other series by Jane Jensen but I’m pretty big on puzzle games. Especially of the point and click variety, which this game falls into that category. So without further ado lets jump into the review (I think that rhymed sort of).
The main idea behind Moebius: Empire Rising is a pretty interesting one. As it goes, important figures in history recycle back into the world as time goes by and the new version of this said person can have the same historical impact if everything falls into place as it should. This is referred to as “the pattern” in Moebius. However with the great idea behind it the story never really takes off. Mainly being stifled by pretty standard plot points and uninteresting characters.
In the case of the characters most leave a lot to be desired. Malachi the main character being the most fleshed out and interesting of the bunch but there is a pretty steep decline after that. The supporting cast is pretty dry. You have David Walker, Malachi’s bodyguard who is exactly what you would expect him to be. He’s an ex-soldier and fits the boy scout mold to a T. He does have a number of cheesy but funny jokes however which were entertaining to me at least.
All the other characters fit a certain archetype as did David Walker. Falling into the a-typical characterizations you would expect. The mysterious head of a secret organization, the clean politician, the doormat personal assistant, etc. None of which brought anything interesting to the table.
As I mentioned above Moebius is a point and click puzzle/adventure game. For the most part the puzzles were pretty straight forward and easy to accomplish. Nothing that required a whole lot of brain power if you pay enough attention.
One thing I like was the analyzing of characters, trying to figure out what type of person they were and in some cases what historical figure they are from history. However there were no repercussions if you got your analysis wrong. The game would simple say wrong, try again. There needed to be a bigger fail factor, but that would they have changed the path of the narrative so I get why it didn’t go that route.
Something that did bug me with this game was when you could pick up an item to stash in your inventory. I was almost always able to tell which items in the surrounding area I would need to complete some puzzle but the game never let you pick that item up until you got to the point in the game where you absolutely needed that item. This was pretty mundane at some points cause you’d have to travel back so far to get an item which you should have been able to pick up way before that.
Graphically Moebius was very underwhelming. The character models reminded me of the Sims character models and seemed a bit dated. The character movements are very stiff and awkward. The movement in the legs usually being in some sort of odd high step manner.
When characters would be engaged in a conversation in this game sometimes one characters mouth would not move with the words or seem like it was not moving at all which was distracting at first but after a while I became kind of numb to it. I did see the occasional demonic possession look on some of the characters too. Eyes rolling back in the characters head as they are having a casual conversation with Malachi. Needless to say it was creepy at some points.
Moebius has a very fitting soundtrack for the most part. On a few occasions the soundtrack playing for the particular area of the game I was at got a little old and repetitive. Beyond that though the background music played nicely into the scenes and gameplay with what was occurring.
The dialogue on the other hand was bad for the most part. Leaving a lot of conversations to have this awkward feel to them. None of it ever really felt natural. One thing I kept hearing in my crazy mind when playing Moebius was whenever someone called Malachi, Mr. Rector, I heard “miss director”. That could just be me with that bit.
This game can be completed in 10 hours give or take. For those who thoroughly enjoy the game I can see there being value in going back to this to relive the story. Beyond that there is not much to come back for unless you are an achievement hunter and want to get every single one.
Moebius also has an overall score (a possible 676) in which you rack up points for ever puzzle you solve, character you analyze correctly, or objective you complete. So again for the person who may have not gotten that perfect score when they finished, they might have some lingering itch to go back and get it.