Review: Munin

There is always an element of trial and error when encountering a new obstacle…

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Munin is a platform based puzzle title that has been developed by Gojira and published by Daedalic Entertainment on Steam. There is a very loose story that is given to you in the introduction, the basic premise is that you control Munin, the raven messenger to the Norse god Odin, who has been transformed into a human and to return back to your home of Asgard you must collect all of the feathers that have been scattered throughout the various worlds.

All of the worlds you will guide Munin through are 2-D based and on initial looks could have been taken from any platforming title of the past twenty or even thirty years, but Munin has a twist that makes this title different from many others, sure you control Munin throughout the levels but you also control the levels themselves. The levels are split up into squares and you can rotate them 90 degrees each time to realign stairs, ladders and floors. Sometimes the squares are interlinked with other so rotating one can rotate several.

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The first few levels act as a kind of tutorial showing you how the levels work and also how the rotating of levels impact you and how you can reach the feathers. Once you have completed these initial levels the world begins to open up and you can then choose which area you will go through next. All of the areas have unique styles and specific obstacles only found in that area, such as water that Munin can swim through, boulders that can be used in many varying ways and lasers that will result in instant death and a restart of the level. All of these differing mechanics help the game stay fresh but there is no denying that you will still get frustrated.

There is always an element of trial and error when encountering a new obstacle as you are not sure if it can instantly kill you, such as water, as so many games see you die if you touch it – in this case you can swim through it. As you would expect the levels become increasingly harder and larger as you progress through an area. The difficulty spikes in this game are a major weak point as you go from one extreme to another; some levels are so straight forward it takes a matter of minutes to complete them where as other levels can take a frustratingly long length of time to decipher and at times I felt like just giving up.

Controlling Munin is simple, it is the basic WASD controls to navigate around the screen and the mouse buttons to either jump or rotate a segment of the screen. The hit detection on Munin on the other hand isn’t quite so straight forward and I found myself dying several times from just going near to spikes or other obstacles. The jumping is also pretty poor, I found myself jumping around feathers as you have to control yourself as you fall down but it feels very floaty and imprecise, which for a puzzle platformer with many obstacles to avoid I felt just made a lot of the areas even more frustrating and time consuming.

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Like many puzzle based games you will either find the challenges rewarding or very frustrating, with Munin I found them to be a bit of both, some levels were hard to work out but when you did you feel as though you have achieved something. But on the other hand I found many of the levels’ difficulty came from the controls and the unforgiving nature of some of the obstacles and the problems with the controls I have just pointed out, so I would have to edge towards the frustrating side of the difficulty scale.

The worlds and levels all look quite nice on the screen, all of the different areas feel different enough so you don’t feel as though you are retreading old ground and replaying through levels with just a different lick of paint. The backgrounds on some levels are really detailed too and some are active with giants walking past in some of the earlier levels I encountered.

Overall Munin is an initially fun puzzler, but the more I played it the more I felt like giving up but I am aware that there are a lot of people out there that love a hard challenging title and this could be it for you. Personally I found it to be good in short bursts to test my brainpower, or lack of. I would doubt many people would be able to sit and play through the levels in one sitting… there are many good elements but they are let down by the difficulty spikes and instant deaths.

Reviewed on PC

 

 
 

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