Song of the Myrne: What Lies Beneath Review
6.5our score

Once I’d got through the title, I quite enjoyed this.

I’m a PC gamer, dyed in the wool. Never had a console, gameboy or such. Before PCs, I gamed on an Amstrad 64k with a greenscreen monitor or an LCD display Donkey Kong thing powered by the same batteries my watch took. I suspect that dates me fairly accurately. It’s like the pot sherds in a Bronze Age rubbish pile to a games archaeologist.

Old School Character Customisation. Step One - enter name. Step Two - get on with the game.

Old School Character Customisation. Step One – enter name. Step Two – get on with the game.

I mention this to say that I’ve never played any Legend of Zelda games, so if I say that SotM:WLB is like Zelda, it’s only because that’s what I’m told. And have read of in books and online, and seen screenshots of, and played other games that have a similar vibe and claim to be channelling Link. Look, I thought he was an elf, I’d never even heard of Hylians until I read wikipedia just now.

So there’s a blast of nostalgia allegedly to be had here, but it’s not one that I can nostalge upon particularly. Old school dungeon-running, blocky bit graphics, catchy soundtrack and an RPG levelling system, well, luckily that I can get behind.

Myrne (sorry, the title is giving me an RSI) is a god or somesuch in a fantasy world. You, an adventuring dude, have had your wife killed for reasons unknown. That could be a grim/dark starting point, and would be in most fantasy these days, but not here. This game plays smirky/light, with histrionics over wificide kept to a minimum, and plenty of good snark in the item descriptions. You set off on your quest with little idea of why or what it is, and not much in the way of clues to follow. But the road is straight and narrow to adventure, and true to the tropes of the genre you should follow the available rails without too much questioning.

Your wife's name is Fluffinette. Perhaps you should consider the possibility she took her own life.

Your wife’s name is Fluffinette. Perhaps you should consider the possibility she took her own life.

From a sleepy town beset by a wizard who’s turned the local river to wee to the inclusion of a helmet item that’s a clown nose and wig, the gentle gags are present everywhere. Combat is simple enough, slashing or shooting or spelling furiously at nearby baddies until they pop and drop loot, but satisfying all the same. There’s crafting, puzzle solving and exploration, too. In fact, be prepared to wander about to check all the corners of a map in order to find all the odds and ends available. And all this backed by pleasingly folksy tunes.

So it’s fun, simple, charming and nicely made. Great! Any downsides?

Seems like a tough choice, right?

Seems like a tough choice, right?

Not really. I mean, it’s short and possibly even a little shallow. There won’t be much to bring you back over and over, but for the asking price that’s no big problem. The humour is nice, but I didn’t really feel it’s either immersive or ironic enough to really be a big feature. Almost as though whoever making the game wants to be able to shrug and say ‘yeah, it was just having a laugh really, I don’t take this stuff seriously’ to any passing attractive women who might find gaming unattractive (This analysis is purely based on my own experiences, I hasten to add, I know nothing of the developers’ love life.) The game would really be exactly the same without it. Perhaps a touch less charming, but still the same.

And, well, you’re not going to find anything especially new or original here. Gentle familiarity, like a bath of sweet, lukewarm tea. Lovely if that’s your bag, but perhaps hard to get excited about.

The village contains all the usual stuff - blacksmith, tavern and random quest givers.

The village contains all the usual stuff – blacksmith, tavern and random quest givers.

Song won’t keep you gripped for ages, but maybe that’s not such a bad thing, in an age where most games go out of their way to be as addictive as possible. Addictions are bad, kids, keep them in check. I can’t really find anything to fault here, although the ‘lite’ gaming left me a little unsatisfied. So I’ll go back to my ‘fun, simple, charming and nicely made’ comment and leave it at that.

Pros:

  • Fun and simple
  • Charming and Nicely Made
  • Look, did you read the article or not?
Cons:

  • Simplistic
  • Short
  • Nothing to write home about

the author

Used to be a Doctor (Dr). Now is an actor (Ar), writer (Wr) and gamer (Gr), and would like to get all these abbreviations into general usage, because GrArWr is a much more interesting title to have on your bank card.