Tonguç Bodur is a fascinating game developer; a bit of a maverick who goes about creating distinctive games, owning quite an impressive library.
I’ve reviewed a fair few of them now – most recently that of Finding the Soul Orb and The Dead Tree of Ranchiuna – enjoying the mix of beautiful environments with gentle walking sim mechanics. Previous games have been no more than a couple of hours in length, combining folk tales with magic. I like the more strange, surreal and abstract take of these games, rather than the more straightforward ones.
In The Redress of Mira, Bodur creates a longer experience with more gameplay mechanics and a more forthright story. But how does it work?
The Redress of Mira puts you in the adventure shoes of Mira; the daughter of a famous Elven tribal chief. The story is told through the journey of Mira, playing out over some three or four hours, delivered through storybooks that you find dotted around the levels. There are also illustrations that you unlock, as you open magical gates, with these filling in the narrative too.
The story is like that of a dark fairy tale, full of treachery, despair, and family revenge. There is a dog with blue shiny eyes, and a stag that takes you on a ride if you fancy that kind of thing. It’s an admirable thing, allowing you to discover the narrative in bits as you go along, all coming together perfectly at the end.
Most of the game is played in the first person, as you walk and run through the levels. Each level is separated by a magical gate that can only be activated by the magical staff you have on you. This staff needs to activate as it only has three spells to throw, and you do that by draining green life force from rabbits. Yes, I did say draining green life force from rabbits.
So each level consists of you scouring the area for a rabbit, hoping to charge your staff, to enable you to unlock the gate. But there are more little gaming mechanics included as well, like the need to go climbing up vines to get to certain areas and the old pull-the-switch to open doorways. You’ll be putting statues on top of pressure pads and pulling blocks along to get up to certain areas too.
These mechanics work, but only by the skin of their teeth. It’s not something that the developer has been used to and it shows – the animation for pushing a block is not a pretty one. There is some platforming to be had as well and it’s a bit ropey too, so much so that one specific section was extremely painful.
There are only a couple of sections in The Redress of Mira in which you can die by an enemy. There is a strange fight against a mercenary; a desperate game of you recharging your staff before the mercenary kills you. Then there is a nightmare sequence that is all about stealth and being hunted by a terrifying creature in a cave. Again these mechanics work fine but aren’t the best you’ll see this year. For some, they may be the undoing of The Redress of Mira, but luckily the lore and exploration of the world keeps you going. Perhaps though, there are too many elements at play here that aren’t quite ready.
The landscapes you travel through and the design of the world itself are dreamy; a medieval fantasy palette in full flow. There are some lovely colours and a pleasurable world to view with your eyes. Some of the animations that play out are a bit limited, but the sound design does a good job with its epic score and nice effects. The voice-over work is okay too, but hasn’t got a tremendous amount of stuff to work with. The shouts of “Die… DIE”, can grate after a while.
I very much like the work of Tonguç Bodur, especially the strange puzzle walking sim experiences. There are bits of that found in The Redress of Mira but other gameplay mechanics let it down somewhat. The story and visuals just about make up for these mechanics and the price feels good for a four-hour adventure game, but ultimately it’s the weird stuff we want next time please, Tonguç.
The Redress of Mira is on the Xbox Store