Oh, happy day! Ruins of Pantheon, the fifth and latest chapter of the Jinja Series, Aztec's ongoing, epic point-and-click saga, has just been released. Hmm....how to describe. Take one part Indiana Jones, mixing in a few heaping spoonfuls of mysterious alien technology. Add a nice dash of interstellar warfare, a sprinkling of impending doom, and plunk it all down into a tranquil, traditionally Japanese setting. Voila!
Ruins of Pantheon finds the nameless protagonist once more defending the Earth against the Octlien, a race of vaguely lizard-like aliens that seem to have it out for our home planet. After having their plans foiled in the previous games, the aliens have marshaled their forces and are on their way to attack; only you have the knowledge and resources to stop them. This may sound more like the premise for a first-person shooter, but fear not, point-and-click fans; the key stopping the Octlien lies in exploring and gradually unraveling the mysteries of ancient ruins, ultimately unlocking a super-weapon that just may be enough to stop those pesky invaders.
I highly suggest that those new to the Jinja Series first play the previous four chapters, so as to get the full narrative experience; like in other well-made game series, a good bit of the fun (to me) is the story. Even if you insist, however, on jumping right into Ruins of Pantheon, a very enjoyable game awaits. The graphics, while nice enough, aren't anything spectacular; the only soundtrack are the occasional noises that accompany in-game events. What really makes the game fun is the satisfying logic of how the puzzles are solved; the difficulty is high enough to take some thought, but moderate enough to allow relatively rapid progress. The game involves a lot of running around, gathering a clue from room A to solve a puzzle in room B, and the item then collected in B naturally makes you think of an item in room C, and so on. I enjoy this sort of gameplay, and Ruins of Pantheon makes it very rewarding.
All in all, Ruins of Pantheon is simply a lot of fun. Despite the storyline, not much makes sense (who set this elaborate puzzle system up?), and some of the puzzles require more persistence than ingenuity on the players' end, but who cares? You get to wander around mysterious underground caverns, deciphering ancient stone tablets and waking up long-dormant alien technology. The game is blissfully free of pixel-hunting, and despite the "impending doom" scenario feels surprisingly relaxed. It's well-made and very entertaining, and I for one can't wait for the next chapter.
If you'd like to play the games in order, you can find the previous chapters here:
Time to once more save the world:
Cheers to Renegade and Juv3nal for sending this one in! =)