Zniw Adventure



Genre: Adventure

Developer & Publisher: Azure Mountains/Kurki Games

Released: November 6, 2020              

Requirements: Windows XP or later

Processor: 1.8 GHz

Memory: 2 GB RAM

Graphics: DirectX 9.0/Open GL compatible card with at least 512 MB VRAM

Storage: 900 MB available storage

Additional notes:  A sound card and mouse or touchpad are required






By flotsam


Spawned from a draft comic and hailing from a two person Polish studio, Zniw is a 2D animated point and click adventure that asks the big question - who doesn’t like dinosaurs?

Zniw is a smallish yellow dinosaur looking for a “hatchday” present for her mother, but who through a series of escalating events ends up in a variety of places engaged in a multitude of tasks, striving to get home but seemingly getting ever further away. Stumbling across a strange village inside a mountain, she stumbles into an even stranger intrigue, one that includes a thief, a small furry mammal infestation and mushrooms.

Keeping the animation style of its origins, and drawing inspiration from “old school” point-and-click’s, the game delivers 10 hours or so of gentle, enjoyable, family friendly adventuring. No deaths, no language warnings, and no actiony bits; a limited amount of time to work out the next bit of a conundrum is as close as you get (eg distract a character and then perform an action before their attention returns).

Like many of the games it emulates, there is no capacity to highlight hotspots (remember when games were like that?) but your curser changes colour when it moves across something you can interact with and a written description pops up bottom of screen, so there is no need to click on absolutely everything just in case. Click and hold to activate the action window, where up to five actions might be available (look, talk, take being the most common). Move the curser to your action of choice and release the mouse, and the action will be performed. The same arrangement works for rummaging in your backpack, which is opened by clicking the icon top left. A map sits top right, showing Zniw in the current location, and is more useful in some places than others.

The puzzling is by and large inventory based, finding and using things to achieve a range of different objectives. As always, there is the occasional opaque moment, a bit of aimless wandering in the hope of triggering a way forward and some slightly weird combinations of objects, but it isn’t obtuse or unfair, and you can get clues from all sorts of places. These include the “story so far” tab, which can point you towards the next objective, and the so called encyclopedia, which is full of useful information about all the things and places you come across, and which can inspire an insight or three. Plus it’s a rather good occasional read.

There is a game within the game which involves collecting pebbles (for a very good reason), which in turn will unlock a variety of extras, such as concept art, a mini game and a musical menu. I can’t tell you what the other six are as I didn’t find nearly enough pebbles. I can tell you having a started a new game that you get pebbly hints in the “story so far” for eating the edible things you might find. If only I had paid more attention up-front!

There is no spoken word but there is a lot of speaking and a lot of critters to speak with. Many have distinct personalities, and can be quite loquacious. Speech bubbles are used, as are pop-up head-shots of Zniw and whoever she might be speaking with. Suitable sound effects and musical pieces round things out.

What else?

You can only fit a certain number of things in your backpack (once you construct one) and you can drop items should you need to. The map will show where you left them, although given I only dropped one thing it would appear to be a minor game aspect.

You can tweak how certain game interactions occur (eg does an inventory item stay on the curser if unsuccessful or go back into the inventory) and choose to have certain shortcut buttons (e.g. the encyclopedia) appear on the game screen. I liked that aspect, although I couldn’t get it to play full screen however hard I tried (you have to do this through the Steam tool). That wasn’t a big deal, as it filled at least three-quarters of my wide screen monitor.

If you are a regular reader of my reviews you will know these types of games aren’t my preferred choice. Yet everything about Zniw, including the obvious heart that went into it, ensured I had a very excellent time.

And yes, I do like dinosaurs 😊

I played on:

OS: Windows 10, 64 Bit

Processor: Intel i7-9700K 3.7GHz

RAM: Corsair Dominator Platinum RGB DDR4 32GB

Video card: AMD Radeon RX 580 8192MB


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