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Son of Nor Review: Sandpushers Extraordinare

/ Apr 6th, 2015 No Comments

Part puzzler, part physics abuser, Son of Nor attempts to create a different type of RPG. Set in a fantasy universe where humans evolved alongside lizard-people — don’t worry, it’s not The Super Mario Brothers Movie: The Game — Son of Nor follows the typical tropes of the fantasy genre, but pushes forward with its gameplay.

A series of magic powers give players control of their environment, which is similar to many Star Wars games but with a few twists of its own. Whether these twists are enough to make this Kickstarter-backed game stand out is the true question.

Sons of Nor, Come Out to Playyyayyy

Humans have evolved alongside the Sarahul, a race of lizardfolk, in relative peace until one of the Sarahul gains magic. Bam, war. Humans are driven to the brink of extinction and forced to find refuge across a vast desert. The Sons of Nor are the humans tasked with protecting the remainder of the species, and are aided by magical powers.

Players control one Son of Nor (there are female characters despite the group name; I mean this isn’t Ubisoft). They must use the Son of Nor’s magic to uncover the mystery of the Sarahul, gain new powers and save humankind.
 

Bow before your dark lizard gods! No... the OTHER dark lizard gods!

Bow before your dark lizard gods! No… the OTHER dark lizard gods!

The story keeps players chugging along, keeping gamers’ attention with mystery and intrigue. While the plot isn’t a masterwork of fantasy genius, it feels fresh, and the world is well worth exploring, especially with the set of amazing abilities players have at their fingertips. NPC names are confusing, but solid voice acting fleshes out each character, giving the entire experience draw.

No Dragon Shouts, Just Wind

A number of magical abilities are gained throughout Son of Nor, but starting abilities are really all that players need. Telekinesis and Terramorphing are the two main abilities, and they gain new uses throughout the game. Telekinesis exists as the bread and butter of combat, allowing players to quickly pick up objects and hurl them with intent to kill. Players can also use an upgraded form of telekinesis from the start, which allows players to rip several nearby objects and fire them off in succession. However, using this high-powered effect can result in destroying parts of the environment players wanted to remain in place.
 

Not so much a power as it is just a natural ability of ladies everywhere.

Not so much a power as it is just a natural ability of ladies everywhere.

Terramorphing is the puzzle aspect of players’ magic. Sands can be raised and lowered to reach new heights or discover buried pathways. Creating sand dunes also has its use in combat, as it makes a barrier between players and their enemies. Gameplay in Son of Nor is incredibly fun, but it can be choppy at times. Despite feeling like a god from the get-go, players will be challenged by a number of enemies and be forced to think on their feet in combat and puzzle-solving scenarios. Death will occur nearly as often as in Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, but Son of Nor is forgiving and simply forces players back to a checkpoint, often right next to where they died.

Sights and Sounds of the Sands

For an indie Kickstarter game, Son of Nor looks beautiful. The lush, rolling scenery and fantasy world is sure to captivate players. However, there is an issue of redundancy. Many of the levels feel the same, and some are as they cycle back to previous areas. Sadly, setting an entire game in a desert locale can lead to poor level design decisions. Overall though, Son of Nor is great to look at and the visuals help create an immersive experience.
 

Good boy/girl, now hit the other tutorial bri- I mean... uh... SUPER IMPORTANT STORY PROGRESSION!!!

Good boy/girl, now hit the other tutorial bri- I mean… uh… SUPER IMPORTANT STORY PROGRESSION!!!

While no Arabian Nights, Son of Nor delivers a mysterious soundtrack that lends itself to the narrative of the game. Sound effects are also well done and fit in well while not overpowering players’ ears. A lot of noise is made when throwing debris every which way, but Son of Nor creates a fine sound balance. Voice acting is surprisingly refined as characters come to life through their voices. However, NPCs simply seem like they’re there to push story like petty crack dealers.

Fus Ro Die

Quality physics, solid voice acting and an engaging story serve Son of Nor well. Sadly, multiplayer is lacking simply due to the lack of online community at this time. Son of Nor will not disappoint gamers who give it a gamble, but it also won’t blow anyone away. Son of Nor sparkles enough to draw the attention of Agrabah, but sadly it simply isn’t the magic lamp.

It is currently on sale on Steam for $16.99 until April 7.

Note: Son of Nor was reviewed on the PC using a code for the game provided by the publisher.

 

Greg Johnson

Greg Johnson

Associate Editor at Gaming Illustrated
Greg is a Nintendo fanboy who would cry if they ever went third party. He writes news, previews and reviews at Gaming Illustrated.
Greg Johnson

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SON OF NOR REVIEW: SANDPUSHERS EXTRAORDINARE

Gaming Illustrated RATING

Overall77%

GAMEPLAY8

The terramorphing serves as the most interesting part of gameplay, but the puzzles hold a close second.

GRAPHICS8

Luckily the sands are beautiful as players will see a lot of them. A LOT.

SOUND8

Solid voice acting meets a mysterious track for an engaging auditory experience.

STORY7

While nothing new in the fantasy genre, Son of Nor gets the point across and engages players with intrigue and magic.

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