Cibele opens and ends with a simulated desktop, with a few scant folders of pictures and poems and, regrettably, a single game to play - an online co-op role playing game. But it is a game in name only with no actual role-playing elements other than negative numbers appearing above enemies as you click on them. Your co-op partner is heard through dialog interspersed throughout battle, and seen from selfies sent via direct message, toward the goal of simulating an online play experience.
Each level, (of which there are mercifully only three) involves only about 15 minutes of left-clicking. Enemies float above their world like a planchette over a Ouija board. Each enemy does not have a unique path of action, nor do they inflict damage or drop items when vanquished. Interaction with these rudimentary figures is occasionally interrupted by the appearance of a boss enemy that has the same characteristics as the grind-fodder, except it is bigger.
The design of the world is heavily influenced by the watercolors of Georgia O'Keefe, while the enemies appear to have dropped in from Tearaway which fits with the papercraft nature of their movement.
Each 15 minute play session is framed with hilariously awkward FMV content which tells the story of two young first-time lovers crawling their way to and from their first physical encounter.
Other applications on the desktop will meagrely vie for your attention with an occasional e-mail (including a promotional message from Virgin (groan), or chat message from other non-playable characters emulating the scintillating dialog seen in chat rooms on the real internet.
As a game, the content makes a good argument for Steam's two hour refund policy. As an experience in slightly interactive snooping it was in no way a fair deal for the patron, especially in terms of the time required. Had an interactive diorama of the same subject matter taken 90 minutes to view in a museum, it would be largely taken an indulgence on the part of the creator.
- Phil Fogg
Note from Phil Fogg About This Review:
The above review was an excercise in reviewing Cibele as a game taken entirely on face value, and not through any of the lenses that would be very natural to apply to a game as meta as this. While tinkering with some of those concepts for the review I found my writing as indulgent and hollow as the game itself, so instead I set out to write a review of Cibele as plainly as I could.
Note about the Note from Phil Fogg About This Review:
The above note was an exercise in wankery.