If you like Science Fiction, mystery and puzzle solving strung together with a mediocre plot then J.U.L.I.A. is the game for you.
J.U.L.I.A.is set in the distant future. The player takes on the role of Rachel, the last remaining crew member aboard an interstellar spaceship designed to study alien worlds. When Rachel awakes she quickly discovers that she is alone on the ship. The ship’s AI J.U.L.I.A. wakes Rachel up from cryo-sleep to repair a part of the ship that has been damaged.
After making the repairs to the ship, it is up to the player to explore and investigate what happened to the crew and why Rachel was not woken up when the others left the ship. J.U.L.I.A. informs you that she cannot give an explanation as to why the crew left her or where they went because her memory blocks have been damaged; big surprise right?
The ship is in the Salia system. There are six planets in the system each one offering different clues to what happened to the crew. All of the planets are diverse in their topographical make-up; you’ll visit an ice planet, a jungle world, and a world of misty rock formations bearing similarities to Pandora in Avatar.
The game itself is comprised of mini-games. Each planet you land on you will explore with MOBOT, a semi-intelligent robot that you control, but not really. The game is a point and click adventure. When arrive on a planet you can explore a few different areas depending on the planet. While exploring you will come across clues to what happened to the crew. You will be tasked with solving various puzzles, some of which can be particularly difficult. One such puzzle is a gas mixture where you actually have to do some math to figure it out. Math! A flaw in the game’s overall plot is that J.U.L.I.A. is a smart AI but yet you are supposed to figure out complex puzzles, why? Well, after all, J.U.L.I.A. is a puzzle game. You will also find schematics which you can use to upgrade MOBOT and the ship. You guessed it the Schematics are puzzles you must solve to attain the upgrade. Some of these can be pretty challenging.
J.U.L.I.A. suffers from bad voice acting and subpar graphics, even for a puzzle game. The voice of MOBOT and J.U.L.I.A. are done with no emotion and sound as if they were hastily recorded to meet a deadline. Rachel on the other hand is the better of the three, her voice is clean while the others are lacking. The graphics in the game are what you’d expect for a PC puzzle game five years ago; there are Xbox Live arcade games with better graphics.
Although the game is lacking in voice acting, graphics, and gameplay it makes up for this with a very well put together sound track. At times the sound in the game gives you that sense of wonder and exploration that can only be found in a Sci-fi game.
In short J.U.L.I.A. is a solid puzzle game that can be frustrating at times. The puzzles have a good amount of diversity, although there are some recurring puzzles that could have been scrapped. This game is for those who want to be challenged for a change, not everything is so clear cut in J.U.L.I.A., the game leaves you to figure out things and make the next move where you see fit. If you like to have your hand held throughout a video game J.U.L.I.A.is not for you.
For more information on how we review games check out our criteria here. A copy of this game was provided to The Paranoid Gamer by the publisher for review purposes. If you have any questions about this title the reviewer will be able to answer them in the comment section.