Eselmir and the five magical gifts reviews

Translated by
Microsoft from Deutsch
Product received for free 'Eselmir and the five magical gifts' is about the priest Eselmir who serves the God Monusad (Monusadah in his female form), the God of time. He is being sent on a long journey across the whole country to retrieve five magical gifts that were buried with the legendary King Theoson, the ancestor of the Pirin, Eselmir's people. In addition, Eselmir must find a kidnapped child, solve the mystery surrounding the death of his beloved Jeselion, fight off monsters and other adversaries and do a lot of reading. The story is well-told; the amount of texts to read lends additional depth, as do such things as linking a seemingly useless item in your inventory to a character you encounter later in the game, thus telling an additional short story. There are lots of those links throughout the game; even though every single item seems to have its very own history that has to be told, it's worth reading the dialogues (or books) because in the end, everything comes together. The artwork is truly special. Every background has been painted by hand and colored digitally; there's a lot of heart and soul in this game. Not everyone will like the artwork, though. I must admit that during the first hours, it took me a while to get used to this unique style. After a while, I found that I really liked the artwork even though animations can look a bit weird - but then, this is not an AAA title with a huge budget. Bearing this in mind, it's astonishing what Stelex Software have accomplished. The soundtrack is wonderful; almost every setting has its own unique musical score, and the main song, "The Way to Lothriel", is very catchy. There's no audiotrack for voices except during cutscenes; all other dialogue must be read. You can choose between English and Italian. Gameplay is classical point and click. All you need is your trusty mouse to look at people or things, to interact, to pick stuff up, to pray etc. The inventory is restricted to the icon for interaction - you cannot pick up something from your inventory and try to apply it to the next hotspot and see what happens. If an interaction is possible, the game will show you - just right-click to see if there's more to the interaction icon than the eye. If items from the inventory have to be combined, Eselmir will either do it automatically or after you've solved a riddle tied to an item. The tasks Eselmir has ahead of him are numerous: He has to fetch things for other characters, scout a maze (which was great fun - and usually, I HATE mazes), do some sports, answer riddles, fiddle with mechanics and mirrors, take part in a war, fight, swim... there's a lot to do, and it doesn't get boring because most tasks and riddles won't be repeated. Also, most of them can be solved by carefully reading all the dialogues and texts provided - most of the time, a hint will be hidden there. In addition, Eselmir has to fight. That was the one part of the gameplay that I didn't like at all simply because it's not about skill but speed. Think Assassin's Creed Unity and lockpicking. There's also a very short and not very difficult stealth section. As much as I enjoyed the game because of its story, well-written characters and beautiful artwork, there were technical issues that at times made me curse. The game crashed a lot, sometimes Eselmir (and the inventory resp. all other characters) would disappear from the scenery, sometimes I couldn't even get the game started. What worked for me was switching to an older computer - think Windows XP here -, turning off Steam Cloud and also switching to windowed mode. The game worked more smoothly under those circumstances; the only tech issue I had to deal with after making those adjustments were crashes. I recommend that you save often. It took me 29 hours to complete the game (I had to replay some sections after crashes) which is astonishingly long for an adventure, let alone an indie adventure. Storywise, this is a good game. The world and the characters are very vivid, while Eselmir is a very likeable character with a golden heart. The tech issues can be very annoying. However, once they are gone (I really hope the devs are able to patch things up), this will be a great game for people who love point and click adventures.