Written for Total Control magazine, Rapide Publishing c.1998

Jewels of the Oracle

Platform: PC
Publisher: IONA Games Division
Developer: Eloi Productions Inc.
Style: Puzzle game
Release: Out now
Price: £29.99
Players: 1
Processor: 486 25MHz/66MHz
Memory: 8MB/16MB
Disk Space: 500KB
3D Accelerator: Not supported

In the short time this game and I have known each other, we have developed a strong relationship based on mutual hatred. It keeps calling me stupid, and I keep turning it off. I guess we’re just too good at pushing each other’s buttons.
Jewels of the Oracle is a series of logic and lateral thinking puzzles beloved by the kind of spotty schoolboy who would, in the early eighties, have solved Rubick’ Cube in thirteen point four seconds, written a book about it, bought a ZX81 and subsequently become a games programmer. The puzzles are linked together by a thin storyline, some tree-hugging hippy crap about ancient civilisations and lost cities, and are presented in a graphical style best described as low-budget Myst. The puzzles range from simple to absurdly difficult, and once you have completed all twenty-four of them you gain entrance to the Lost City of Nisus, which is presumably full of insufferably smug brainboxes with minimal social skills.
The blurb on the back of the box states that Jewels of the Oracle has satisfied users in thirty-five countries, which I guess means that there are at least thirty-five people out there who like this kind of thing. I don’t know any of them.

Verdict 20%