By Zante Barker
Action-adventure games can bring me a mix of feelings, a sense calm, joy and also, frustration. Sphinx and the Cursed Mummy from THQ Nordic (Switch) is a single player game where you as Sphinx travel through Egypt. There’s a circuitous plot involving Sacred Crowns and Canopic Vases. It’s kind of hard to follow. It’s also a remake of a PlayStation 2 game – and it’s not updated enough. That’s where my frustration comes in.
As you start the game, your master Imhotep will give you (as Sphinx) a major task which is to get the Blade of Osiris. The Blade of Osiris is an old yet powerful sword and can be wielded by gods. Plus, it’s strong enough to deal with a demonic, evil force.
Even though I haven’t completed the game entirely, I spent a few days playing. But I got mad because I couldn’t save the game when I wanted to. Still, the artwork and graphics were really smooth and there wasn’t any stuttering. And the style for the characters – the cuteness and the personality like a never say die attitude – was really well done. It really made me feel as if I wasn’t just there watching; I was doing the physical work to get the sword.
I really loved the animal choices in the game. For example, I enjoyed how they made Sphinx look a bit like a lion since the Sphinx in real life Egypt is part lion. Plus, I love how they made Horus a bird. Because they’re both stubborn, I did find some similarities between Horus and Revali from Breath of the Wild in Rito Village and a Champion of the Divine Beast Vah Medoh.
I think the creators could have placed the reveal of the Blade of Osiris a bit later in the game because I feel like there wasn’t much of a challenge to getting the sword. It wasn’t difficult enough. They could have brought a boss that was actually guarding it into the game to make you feel like you worked for something great when you actually do get it. Another issue I had was the fact that there was little sound – meaning I couldn’t hear the characters speaking except in little grunts or chirps. While there is text to read, I felt that was the characters looked so good, I wanted to hear them engage with each other.
And lastly, a major problem I had with the game is that you can’t always save your progress in the game enough. It really bothered me to point I was mad and had to stop playing a few times. Let’s say you die in the game. It restarts you all the way back to either the beginning of your last checkpoint – which can be far away. I personally don’t like it or find it fair because you have to go through all that hard work of moving forward. And then you die. Therefore, I wish the creators would give you that option to save your progress or autosave or put checkpoints closer together, just like how Breath of the Wild does. Maybe this was fine in the past, but it’s not good now.
In the end, I had a love-hate feeling about the game. I would recommend the game if you can deal with near-silence when you want to hear a conversation. But other than that, the storyline, the characters, and the graphics really made the game pop.
Zante Barker is our newest New York Videogame Critics Circle intern, part of our partnership with the Bronx’s DreamYard Preparatory School.