realMyst: Masterpiece Edition (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Athanasios 01.06.2020 2

Review for realMyst: Masterpiece Edition on Nintendo Switch

It's 1994. A year after the Macintosh first experienced Cyan's seminal adventure classic, Myst would arrive on personal computers, and the rest is history. A hardware seller, killer app kind of product, Myst helped in popularising the use of compact discs, since it made heavy (for the time) use of high-quality audio, and pre-rendered 3D graphics. While audio-visually impressive, the real beauty of the game was its ability to immerse players into its many dreamworlds; dreamworlds filled with challenging, yet fair, and enjoyable puzzles. After the success of the original iteration, Myst received many ports and remasters, with realMyst ditching the "slideshow" visuals, for a fully three-dimensional environment. You are can now explore this engrossing pocket universe yourself, with the upgrade of the upgrade. It's realMyst: Masterpiece Edition, for the Switch.

Myst was a first person adventure game, where you, the so-called Stranger, accidentally stumbled upon a book that "linked" you to the eponymous 'Age,' which is essentially a pocket world "crafted" (a little more complicated than that) via an ancient 'Art.' Alone, and without anyone to guide you, you start exploring, trying to figure out what's going on here, and if there is a way to escape this, otherwise, serene prison. Your search will lead you to additional Ages, where the plot will unfold through books left behind, and some good 'ol environmental storytelling, with the gameplay revolving around solving a variety of puzzles that are simple in structure, but still very challenging.

Screenshot for realMyst: Masterpiece Edition on Nintendo Switch

Ask around, and people might tell you that this wasn't just very challenging, but one of the most challenging in the genre. Not really. The beauty of Myst's puzzles is exactly the fact that they don't require any bizarre, out of the box thinking, or a gazillion steps to solve. Each one is all about exploring around to find clues, thinking logically, and taking notes of numbers, symbols, and so on. This ensures that players are unlikely to feel frustrated, no matter how stuck they get, as it's not about mixing and matching items in all sort of crazy ways like in most adventure games, but about having an analytical mind. You need to think as if you are really there, exploring a "real" world.

Speaking of real, realMyst is the same experience all over again. The difference? Mainly the fact that it ditches the slideshow-esque navigation of the past, with a fully 3D world that lets you walk almost everywhere you want. Add to that a brand new coat of paint, and some additional bells and whistles, and it's safe to say that this is the best version of Myst, especially now that you can enjoy it on the fantastic hybrid that is the Switch, right? Well, not really. For starters, some of the original's flaws still haven't been fixed, with one example being how voice-acting (from pre-recorded messages) is hard to hear due to the way-too-loud music themes that play in the background.

Screenshot for realMyst: Masterpiece Edition on Nintendo Switch

This port is also a weird combination of the original realMyst and realMyst: Masterpiece Edition, with some things actually missing. From visual elements like special lighting effects or the day/night cycle, to the lack of the Classic feature of the PC version, which lets players go back to the original graphics, this is a missed opportunity to really offer the most complete package yet, not to mention that it's in need of some fine tuning, as the frame rate can occasionally make some pretty deep dives. At least this retains the smart hint system (which feels like talking with someone who doesn't immediately gives you straight answers), and it's now possible to play by using the touchscreen.

Screenshot for realMyst: Masterpiece Edition on Nintendo Switch

As a final (and maybe personal) comment on realMyst, this critic believes that the transition to an, objectively more "advanced," graphics engine has decreased the otherworldly aura of the original. Yes, Myst is super old. That, however, gives a unique, surreal identity to the game. realMyst uses high-resolution textures, and as mentioned before is in full 3D, but it is "cursed" with that PS3 era… blandness, where the visuals where technically better, but didn't really stand out. The perfect Myst is probably Myst: Masterpiece Edition, which looks less primeval than the original, yet retains that special retro magic. That being said, the magic isn't completely lost.

Forgive the rumblings of an old fan/fart, because this remains quite the dream-like experience. The complete solitude, the minimal use of ambient sounds, like waves crashing, or wind blowing, the fact that the mystifying music only plays when visiting a new area or solving a puzzle, and the way each age looks, still manages to offer quite the atmospheric ride, which is extremely immersive. Also, never forget that this remains one of the best adventure games ever made. It's definitely a shame, however, that the franchise's first appearance on the Nintendo Switch is an incomplete one compared to the actual realMyst: Masterpiece Edition that can be found on the PC.

Screenshot for realMyst: Masterpiece Edition on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

7/10
Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

While far from the definitive version of the 25+ year-old classic, realMyst: Masterpiece Edition remains a highly atmospheric, and immersive first-person adventure. It's a shame that it lacks some of the features that the PC instalment has, like for example the ability to go back to the old-school visuals with a flick of a button, but, thankfully, that's not enough to mar the experience. If you consider yourself a fan of adventure games, be sure to check it out.

Developer

Cyan Worlds

Publisher

Cyan Worlds

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

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   

Comments

I do have a soft spot for Myst. Hated it back in the day, but the more I played various updates over the years, I began to appreciate it a lot more. I wish more of the '90s style games like this would come to Switch - Journeyman Project, Zork Nemesis, and the Tex Murphy games, as well. There was a golden age on PC for me in the mid-90s!

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

UNITE714: Weekly Prayers | Bible Verses

jesusraz said:
I do have a soft spot for Myst. Hated it back in the day, but the more I played various updates over the years, I began to appreciate it a lot more. I wish more of the '90s style games like this would come to Switch - Journeyman Project, Zork Nemesis, and the Tex Murphy games, as well. There was a golden age on PC for me in the mid-90s!

I believe it takes the right mindset to appreciate it. There have been times when I go back to it and instantly get bored... then the magic returns after a while.

Can't a fella drink in peace?
                                -Farnham

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