Review: Qora (Computer)
- Release Date (NA): October 10, 2014
- Publisher: Curve Digital
- Developer: Holden Boyles, Ciprian Stanciu
- Genres: Adventure
Single playerLocal MultiplayerOnline MultiplayerCo-operative
Another game recently released from Curve Digital, Holden Boyles' and Ciprian Stanciu's adventure game "Quora", formerly known as Kickstarter project "Spirit", is here to take you to a new land full of the mysterious, the supernatural, and the silly, available now for Windows and Mac OS via Steam. Set in a fictional land that seems to cross the ancient with the modern, the player is introduced as the new guy in town and goes to explore and meet the neighbors while the finishing touches are being put on his house. During this whole ordeal he stumbles upon a statue and from it speaks a mysterious voice that drives him to venture forth and find why he is one of only two men in town who have heard it as well as who or what the voice even is.
Main menu; a tour of your new neighborhood, waiting for your house to be built; some of the nice and mysterious scenery
I'll start by saying the art is simply beautiful. I'm a sucker for good pixel art, but wow, the art is extraordinarily well done in this game. It's very simple but at the same time very detailed with some wonderfully made backdrops that really add to the environment, and on top of this the music is also very well paired to the game though it tends to start sounding all very similar and it gives the appearance that the same track is being used for large portions of the game. However "large portions" may not be the right term to use as the game is actually quite short. My first playthrough, taking my sweet time and reading every bit of character dialog took roughly two and a half hours. My second playthrough, skipping all dialog, took about a single hour. And at that it's not even much of a game but a somewhat interactive story - you do very little other than move right, read what the characters have to say, and occasionally pick your way through a rock or cut down tall grass that blocks your perpetually right-bound path. Destroying obstacles isn't an issue though - the issue lies in how long it takes to do and the fact that they serve absolutely no purpose but to drag out the game. All movements, such as climbing up or down something or jumping a gap are done at a ridiculously slow pace, and this also applies to the speed which the player destroys the roadblocks.
The first three screens show the standing long-jump world champion taking up 1:43 of my gameplay at once. Followed minutes later by... more jumping! Except now with climbing too!
The story was interesting with unexpected humor constantly sprinkled in that I couldn't help but laugh at throughout the entirety of the game. After keeping track of what each character had to say there were actually sequences where I let a few expletives fly as I realized what was happening and the gravity of the situation. The ending feels really off though, as it had the potential to be such a fantastic, serious close to the game, but instead turns the ending (the entire premise, really) into nothing but a big joke. One of the two endings even throws you into a long sequence about an... advertising agency? An actual real life advertising agency called Screenpush International, located in L.A.
The fact that I was subject to a spiel concerning Screenpush, a real L.A. based advertising agency, really felt like a slap to the face.
Repetitive gameplay, a very unexpected ending (and not in a good way), and a very short playtime make it hard to recommend this game. Wait for it to go on a Steam sale and pick it up for the very nice artwork and decent soundtrack, if nothing else. But if you're playing it for the story, you may leave feeling disappointed as the game can never fully decide whether it wants to be serious or funny and the story continues to feel more and more cobbled together.
+ Absolutely gorgeous pixel art.
+ Decent soundtrack, though it can feel repetitive.
+ Story can be good at times with unexpected humor.
- An absolute disaster of an ending. How anyone thought the current ending was a good idea is beyond me.
- Destroyable obstacles serve absolutely no purpose but to slow progress.
- Character actions are painfully slow.
- Short 2.5 hours of 100% linear gameplay.
If there was one thing the game got right, it's the presentation. I'll say it again and again but the artwork is stunning and there were multiple scenes and sequences where I actually stopped playing for a few moments to really take in what was being shown on the screen. The artwork and music set the atmosphere perfectly and do a better job at explaining the story than the story itself.
The game can't decide whether it wants to be serious or funny, so it tries for both and succeeds at neither. The ending is by far one of the worst endings to a game I have ever seen and given the atmosphere and what the game tries to portray itself as winds up being borderline insulting considering you've progressed that far. Character actions are unbelievably slow and will take up a majority of your play time, and this is further worsened by the obstacles that are there just to make you take longer. The game is 100% linear and there is no means for deviating from the course.
One of the endings provides you a teleporter that allows you to travel to any screen of the game at-will, though no scripted events can be triggered again. Granted, none of the screen options are labeled so it's a guessing game as to where you're going. I also encountered a bug preventing me from going back home once I teleported somewhere, so I had to start a new game to do anything else, throwing this option out the window.
out of 10
(not an average)
Get it because you want the art and music, not the story or ending. It's short, tedious, repetitive, and a let-down. But it's pretty, and occasionally funny; it's got that going for it at least.