Rhiannon: Curse of the Four Branches (2008)

Rhiannon: Curse of the Four Branches (2008), developed by Arberth Studios, published by Lighthouse Interactive

This is just a quickie, as I don't really have that much to say about Rhiannon: Curse of the Four Branches. Why I feel obligated that I should say something about it is, that it just took me ages to complete. Not because it's terrible, but because I found it promising and at times an atmospheric attempt at creating a sort of a slow, dreamy ghost story that ends up being a bit tedious scavenger hunt.

The story itself is relatively simple. You are staying on a farm, where a young girl Rhiannon has begun to hear voices and experiencing unexpected visions. The evil forces living there drive the family away and your job is to seek the cause of these hauntings and, if possible, get rid of them.

The game is divided into 5 chapters, during which you meticulously walk around the farm and its surrounding area, uncovering the past and finding out what you should be doing. The scavenger hunts come in the forms of spells you need to cast in order to gather four elemental orbs but to make things worse, you can pick up orb related items only after you get to the chapter where the orb must be completed.

This mechanism means, that you have to remember where the correct items are and when the time comes, go pick them up. And as Rhiannon is a Myst style slideshow point 'n' click game, that means at times you need to battle with less than intuitive navigation. Luckily there is a map, that lets you teleport to certain locations, but finding some navigation hotspots is still a hassle.

So, those are the two big issues I had with the game, the navigation and the scavenger hunt nature of it. Rhiannon is a game, that could have been more enjoyable with some design changes and additions. As it is now, I find it difficult game to return after a while, as it is too easy to lose your bearing on what you were doing previously. It is a game, that expects you to remember a lot or keep a record of what you've done previously, even if it has a task log that stores the main things you've done and what you should do.

There's a lot of little hints and clues you have to write up, and if you have a long pause on the game hopefully store somewhere, otherwise you need to check up things again and again. And that's not fun, at least to me.