Any time I hear any variation on the word “Niko,” I just hear Roman from Grand Theft Auto IV going, “Niko! My cousin!” And then I get really upset about bowling. It is, as they say in the parlance of our time, A Problem. But perhaps NIKO: Through The Dream can help me get over it. It’s a first person puzzler so minimalist, clean, and free of corners that it looks like the world has been scrubbed clean with an Apple iSoap. The aesthetic is a soothing one, though, and it makes way for some brain-ticklingly Escher-inspired locales. There’s a certain element of aged majesty to them, though. An alluring mystique that hearkens back to the likes of Myst and – more recently – PS3 megahit Journey. Oh, and there’s a little hooded figure in there that may as well have been lifted straight from Journey. So that’s a thing too. Rather beautiful trailer below.
Here’s what the game’s about on rather, er, vague terms:
“Niko: Through The Dream is a minimalist adventure accompanying Niko in her return to her world. We will travel through different islands, each of them being the oniric representation of an important event of her past. Happiness, solitude or fear melted with hidden riddles, you will face up dangers and traps and, with Niko, you will confront them with determination, ability and logic.”
“Playability intends to be direct and varied. Each island has a setting and mechanic of its own. Puzzles, riddles, platforms, stealth and exploration are the ingredients of the adventure. Prepare to start a journey which you’ll never know what hides ahead. A journey whose paths must be wisely chosen.”
Colors, shapes, and especially sounds will be key, with music evolving in conjunction with your actions, presumably to aid or obfuscate in the solving of puzzles. Honestly, though, all I can really say for sure is that the trailer makes NIKO look like an intriguing first-person puzzler. The game’s Steam Greenlight page is so sparse and lacking in overt detail that… well, it’s a lot like the game itself, actually.
NIKO is set to come out sometime this year. Between this, The Witness, Myst creator Cyan’s new game, and others, melancholy first-person puzzlers appear to be back on the rise. Who’s excited (and expressing it in a restrained, deliberate fashion)?