A RITE FROM THE STARS is a point-and-click rite of passage adventure set on Kaikala, an Hawaiin style island. It was developed by Risin Goat and published by Phoenix Publishing. It was released on Steam a few days ago (July 19th, it's now the 23rd) at a more than acceptable early offer price of just £10.25 (ends 25th July) - at this moment I do not know the final non-deal price.
The story concerns Kirm, a pod-faced humanoid, and his (your) Makoa Tribe. The Elders of your village are from whom you will receive the beginnings of each of the three Rites. These Elders are Ailani, Kekoa and Waha Nui, each with their own Rite of Passage for your destiny, in the previous order: Wisdom, Courage and Spirit. Kirm appears to be mute.
To begin with you have to listen to the game and island (his)tory through a long (way too long for someone itching to play the game) set of sequences and narration. This is quite interesting but as I say, for me it went on much longer than I would normally care for.
Kirm has been chosen by the Stars to become a Legend amongst his village and all pod-people by completing a mystical coming of age adventure. I chose the way of Spirit as my first Rite, the other two could wait until I had completed this one, and went through the glistening gate of Waha Nui where things suddenly became real. I listened to Waha Nui and tried to take in all he wanted me to know before he told me to begin the quest. I walked to the edge of the floating island that passed as Waha Nui's Rock of Destiny, Place of Worship, and saw nothing. I went to step off (expecting to fall to my death and have to restart) when a network of web-like patterns created a path across the sky. I stepped onto this but within seconds creatures flew towards me and knocked me off - and yes I had to start again, on Waha Nui's island.
I tried going off the other edge, back to where the other Elder's Gates were, but was prevented from doing so. I had made my choice and now had to live (and die) with it, at least until I completed it and returned to make my second choice - all three Rites have to be completed. It didn't take long to realise that this was one of those games where you need to try trial and error - as I remembered which way the pathway turned and straightened and turned again I could speed up my moving. I had to keep moving and following the path, stopping or going backwards was all the time required for the creatures to block my way and knock me off the path. Then I discovered I could turn the pathway invisible and still walk on it - this brought with it the true expanse of my memory and of course I died and died and died simply by not remembering every turn or getting too close to the edge, the creatures didn't attack when the pathway was invisible.
The official page informs me that:
An adventure filled with unique challenges, from solving riddles to manipulating ancient machinery to tag-team coconut dodgeball and more!
Explore the island of Kaikala, from exotic jungles to the mysterious Temple of Yesterday
Complete the three paths of Wisdom, Courage, and Spirit in any order
Bond with your playable Power Meerkat companion, Mirk, and your guiding star, Hoku
Voiced in the unique Makoan language, created for the game, with English, French, Italian, German, and Spanish subtitles
More than two hours of original Makoan music featuring the Organum Chorus
Six different possible endings depending on player choices
Each 'Legend' has a guiding star (ball of light) which (or in this case 'who') is supposed to guide and help you. Your personal guide is Hoku and he comes with his own baggage plus a most sarcastic comedic form of wit.
The Pathways for the Rites of Passage can be taken in any order though as always I managed to select the hardest as my first. The true first path that you should take is the Path of Wisdom. This begins with a light-ish move n match type puzzle that is misleading, being harder than it looks.
The next series of perplexities can be found along the path of Courage. Here you are against time itself - I really am not too good at playing against the clock. This time you have to find a way past the angry monkey who, it appears is dead-set on attacking you. You are not alone though, as you have a friendly Meerkat along to help you as an accomplice. To get past it you could really do with the sneaky abilities of Ezio (or Altair) ensuring that you watch and study your opposition's movements down to a tee.
The final path is of Spirit, being the one I chose to start with and am still struggling through. Kirm travels between his world and the spirit world (this is when the pathway goes invisible as sort of explained earlier) to clear the foggy 'creatures' blocking his path.
This is a fun point-and-click adventure that is available in 3D as well as straight 2D. Even without a computer/programme/player/ capable of giving the 3D effect there is an element of 'more than' flat 2D with the characters standing out against the startling backgrounds without actually leaping out of the screen to throw a spear at your nose. I tried wearing a set of TV 3D glasses and I think there was a slight effect, mainly because the darkness of the glasses lens filtering all but the brightest colours on the screen.
The character you play, Kirm, looks like a small human child of about 9-10 years old wearing a leaf shaped mask, and at present I am still not convinced that the pod shape is actually his head and isn't a mask. The Makoa tribe look like humans in all other aspects except for their heads, bodies, arms and legs, hands, fingers and feet, so just why they would have vegetable type pods for heads isn't exactly clear and indeed the more I study the people of the Makoa Tribe the more it looks like their masks are held in place by elastic ties around the backs of the necks - I may well be wrong but that's the impression I am left with.
Having decided that the Makoa are humanoids wearing pod-like masks has not helped me an iota when it comes to playing the game. I still need a better memory than I have and far more patience with my own dextrous abilities. For me this is, at least the Path of Spirit is, a 'Grrr' of a game. If you are a regular puzzle game player (or crossword/word game enthusiast) you will understand what I mean by 'Grrr' - it gets under your skin, into your head, permeates the very essence of your cerebrum and cerebellum.
Graphically and audibly it is fine, not the best I have seen and heard but certainly not even close to the worse. The puzzles are mostly Gordian and sophisticated, doable but at a price of time consumption.
Although there is definitely far more than a 'tenner's' worth of value here RITES from the STARS - the Vision from the Firmament - this isn't strictly a science fiction game per se, it is, simply put, an adventure set on another planet in another Galaxy.
Take a look at the Youtube video and decide for yourself.