Main Menu


We've got a new forum. The old one will remain available as archive.

J.U.L.I.A.: Among The Stars [2014 -- CBE Software s.r.o.]

Started by Starfox, May 14, 2023, 03:48 AM

Previous topic - Next topic


Originally published on December 12, 2014

J.U.L.I.A.: Among The Stars (JATS -- I don't especially like the title which however descriptive it can be of the game settings is not really original but that's a matter of taste) is a point-and-click adventure game with logical puzzles -- nothing you can't figure out yourself with a minimal time investment and without referring to a walkthrough -- and a modern background. It's also a remake a previous indie game called J.U.L.I.A. and although I didn't play this previous game, everybody seems to agree on the remake to be superior to the original in just about every way. As for myself I've found an enjoyable experience with limited flaws

The story is one of a young woman, Rachel Manners aboard of an exploration spaceship just called the "Probe" -- I guess at this point there was a translation problem because by definition a probe is unmanned, but don't let that distract you. The probe was sent to a far stellar system from which Earth received a radio message apparently sent by intelligent beings. The whole purpose of the expedition was to establish first contact with those beings. However once there the expedition quickly turned to the catastrophe. Rachel was supposed to be part of a team of more than a dozen scientists and security personnel but when she's awakened from her cryosleep she discovers that she's alone, that the rest of her team was awakened about 60 years before but curiously left her behind for motives unclear, that the probe is severely damaged and that her only remaining companions are J.U.L.I.A. (the on-board AI computer) and Mobot (an exploration mobile platform equipped with a limited AI focused on analyzing and exploration). The three of them will embark on a journey following in the footsteps of the exploration team to discover the fate of Rachel's colleagues  J.U.L.I.A. not being able to explain anything due to lost memory cells.

But first Rachel has to restore the Probe to full operation otherwise the journey would end very quickly. For this occasion the player discovers the first puzzle in the game which reflect the spirit of puzzles to come. About all puzzles are very logical. No one will ask you to "guess" or to randomly click things until that work. Some puzzles require a bit of thinking to understand the logic. Some even require that the players to pay attention to what they learned previously. Finally, puzzles are different one from the others so one doesn't feel bored at any time.

Rachel stays with Julia on the Probe while Mobot goes and explore the different planets of the stellar system in search of clue. The player has full control of Mobot even though the latter has an opinion on a wide variety of topics and doesn't hesitate to tell them. It's via Mobot that Rachel can interact with the world. However, the progression on one planet may require a clue or an object located on another planet. Mobot itself has 4 different upgrades that must be found and manufactured and three of those upgrades are required to go further in the exploration (it's kind of a limitation system so players don't find themselves in places they shouldn't be before the advancing to a certain point in the story). So sometimes you go and explore a planet just to find that you don't have the necessary element to go further so you have to go and explore another planet.

A technical oddity may be mentioned: the game is only playable in two resolutions, a "HD ready" version (1280x720) and a "Full HD" one (1920x1080). The curious thing being that savegames cannot be ported from one resolution to the other -- either you complete the game on the same resolution or you have to start a new one if you switch resolutions. 

While not being GOTY material (even though GOTY never meant anything, really) I found J.U.L.I.A.: Among The Stars an agreeable and not boring way to spent a dozen of hours even though the story could have been a tad better (personal taste, I hate figuring out by myself big parts of the plot half way through a story -- but that may be unavoidable due to the way the game is built).

Guess what it means!