Argonus and the Gods of Stone (PC) Review

By Athanasios 08.10.2019

Review for Argonus and the Gods of Stone on PC

Zojoi is the company that now has rights to the so called MacVenture line of adventures, including what is probably the most popular amongst them, Shadowgate - which is the reason for the developer's remaster of it for current generation consoles. Good, bad? That's a different article altogether (hint: each time yours truly attempts to play it, he falls asleep). The following game isn't Shadowgate. A fully three-dimensional adventure, that revolves around Greek mythology, Argonus and the Gods of Stone puts you in the sandals of the titular hero, who finds himself in an island filled with nothing but, suspiciously lifelike, yet otherwise lifeless statues. This sailor's wife most likely won't believe what the Moirai had in store for him...

As is the case in the typically gynophobic world of mythology, a siren made the moron on the wheel to crash a ship on the shores of a nearby island, were, once again, because of a woman, in this case, the goddess Athena, things aren't doing so well for the local populace, as something that this fair lady "set in motion" led to everyone turning into stone. Yes, even without being proficient in Greek mythology, this includes the monstrous gorgons (yup, even more disastrous women), so don't expect any major twist in here.

This is probably the first problem with Argonus and the Gods of Stone. The story just isn't that interesting. To be honest, and that comes from a person who was brought up with those myths, very few among them really are. Once again, a god got horny and made a mistake, a goddess had her period or something, a Greek Poké-monster appeared, and a bare-chested hero was tasked with fixing things up. What mattered in most tales such as these was how they were told, and this is the game's second issue.

Screenshot for Argonus and the Gods of Stone on PC

For starters, everything is narrated in faux-epic verse by Calliope, who, for the muse of poetry, she sure is boring. It's not the fault of Betsy Brantley. This voice actress, who is actually the performance model of Who Framed Roger Rabbit's Jessica Rabbit, has done a fine job here. All the blame goes to the lacklustre writing, not to mention the fact that Calliope just doesn't know when to shut it! Argonus just picked up a few pieces of coal? She must explain that to the player, as if it was a major event in Odysseus'… err, Odyssey.

In the end, there isn't any plot in here. The protagonist is basically an errand boy. Throughout his quest to liberate his stoned (literally) mateys, Argonus will meet up with Hera, Hephaestus, Hades, fabulous Apollo, and the God of Douchebags, Poseidon, but these will simply say something along the lines of "I need X. Bring it to me[i]," without really contributing much to the plot. This is a six/eight-hour-long journey, with about… 30 minutes of actual storytelling, and that's never acceptable in an adventure.

[i]Argonus and the Gods of Stone is sort of like a Greek mythology theme park. It has gods and heroes, a Minotaur and a Cyclops, medusas, hydras, and harpies, and generally, a great care has been given to the world these live on, but that doesn't mean that this offers a story to experience, thus, rather than getting immersed in all this, you are simply going through the motions, solving puzzle after puzzle, and going from A to B. Oh, and by the way: stop portraying sirens as mermaids!!!

Screenshot for Argonus and the Gods of Stone on PC

No, it's not an awful trip. It's mildly enjoyable and visually appealing, despite the obvious lack of a decent budget, and the age-old tendency of Greek mythology-inspired games to use a colour palette comprised of boring greys, washed-out browns, and dull oranges and yellows. Devoid of any actual living beings, Athena is the only creature of flesh you'll talk to in this island (gorgons and undead boatmen don't count), and she has a somewhat stiff, robotic animation - then again her divine cleavage immediately erases all her flaws, mistakes, past sins, and so on.

Now, as mentioned before, you are just an errand boy, therefore it's all about finding key items that will be given to the gods or goddesses that ask for them. Is the process any fun? Sadly, this leans more towards the world of walking simulators, in the sense that the puzzles at here aren't really puzzles, with the challenge of doing anything in here lying not in figuring out how to overcome a problem, but in finding the item that's required to do the deed. In fact, the only reason to get stuck in here is simply not "scanning" the ground like a freaking bloodhound.

Screenshot for Argonus and the Gods of Stone on PC

In conclusion, if searching for something with a great storyline based in mythology, plus a bunch of riddles to get those cogs going, you won't find that here. As this is more like a walking simulator, maybe its saving grace will be its atmosphere, right? Unfortunately, this is the final nail in the coffin of Argonus and the Gods of Stone. Bad? No, but once again, this is another part of the recipe that's not as tasty as it could be.

Yes, the island Argonus is stranded on really makes you feel as if Jason, Perseus, Heracles, and Danny DeVito will spring up behind a tree any time now, the gods, whether made of rock or flesh, bone, and ichor, have a certain air of magnificence, and the music, while it won't exactly quench your thirst for some truly epic tunes, definitely fits like a glove to it all (kudos to Rich Douglas, by the way). However, the word that best describe all this is 'decent.'

Argonus and the Gods of Stone is a nicely-crafted… ok. It's nice. It can be enjoyable. It can be annoying. But it's mostly… there - which is really sad, as the developer's love for this title will be evident to the perceptive observer. This is in no way one of those hundreds of Steam games that just want to make a quick buck. The team behind this really worked on this - but maybe it should work on it a little more. The perfect example is probably the insanely abrupt ending, which feels more like the beginning of the last chapter, rather than the true finale.

Screenshot for Argonus and the Gods of Stone on PC

Cubed3 Rating

5/10
Rated 5 out of 10

Average

Fans of adventure will find Argonus and the Gods of Stone to be too light on content; both when it comes to its plot, but mostly in regards to its almost non-existent puzzles. Fans of mythology, and especially Greek legends, will surely enjoy some bits of this small journey, but in the end, this is nothing more than an okay-ish (and empty) theme park with a Greek mythology setting.

Developer

Zojoi

Publisher

Zojoi

Genre

Adventure

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  5/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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