Version Reviewed: 1.0
App Reviewed on: iPad mini Retina
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The first place players will be directed towards in Nimian Legends: BrightRidge is a humble tavern, which serves as a place to converse with other people and learn more about the mythical land and it's many opportunities. Whether it's grievances about certain wilder beasts or legends of gifts stashed away in towers, it all helps introduce what is an experience 100% focused on exploration.
Nimian Legends: BrightRidge doesn't feel like a traditional iOS game. There aren't a set of strict goals or tasks, so players are simply free to roam and explore at their leisure; taking in the glorious open-world and deciding if and when they'd like to assist the villagers or uncover the secrets of the land. There isn't a narrative or story of any kind, so there is no real ending or consequences to actions besides accessing the unlockables on offer.
While it means it's completely open-ended, the fact that actions have no repercussions means that Nimian Legends' longevity depends completely on how long players wish to explore. For example, after I killed a fox (which came back to life when I booted up the game again) that one villager was moaning about, their dialogue didn't change, nor was there any achievement to be had. It made the act a bit pointless, and I felt bad about spearing the poor thing.
For players who just want all of the unlockable content from the start, there's an unlock cheat included free of charge, bestowing all kinds of gifts on players - the most enjoyable of which being the ability to transform into an eagle at will. This really is the most incredibly soothing and easiest way to travel, and players will wonder how they ever got around without it.
One feature I feel is missing, however, is a world map. While the world is diverse in weather and land type, with plenty of recognizable landmarks, the endless running can feel aimless so the unlock cheat was a no-brainer for me. The fast-travel portals (randomized for some reason) and eagle morphing were definitely a great help.
Solo creator Robert Kabwe should be commended for the sheer scope of this project, because whether explored by foot, underwater, or by air (especially by air), the world he has created is vast, beautiful, and a joy to explore. While it seems to be more of an experiment in exploration than a game with objectives or actual progression per se, BrightRidge's open world is certainly worth a wander.