Remember Myst? Of course you do. The program changed the course of PC gaming forever, with its gorgeous static graphics, mind bending puzzles, and decently twisted characters. It also spawned loads of clones after it hit big back in 1995.
The Sacred Rings can best be described as one of those clones, just 15 years late. Outside of the fact that you can actually scroll the camera around each of the static screens in the game, you'd be forgiven for mixing this up for one of the aforementioned game's many sequels.
It's a blessing and a curse. While the visuals will remind you of Myst... well, Myst is over a decade old. The art direction is nice, but the scrolling, 2D pictures and grainy cut-scene video make the game look so, so dated.
What The Sacred Rings lacks is the same kind of compelling story and characters. And what little there is of either is encountered so rarely during the course of the game that it feels even more lacking. And then there are the puzzles... oh, the puzzles.
Anyone who remembers old-school PC adventure games remembers at least one brain-snapping puzzle; one that made absolutely no sense and was presented to you in no useful context. The type of abstract trial and error crap that had you convinced you should swear off videogames altogether.
That pretty much describes most of The Sacred Rings. It seems like the "what the hell" moments just never end and solving each new challenge - while giving you an immense sense of accomplishment - will leave you more confused than before.
Of course, if you're one of those aforementioned misogynistic old-school adventure gamers, you'll probably relish every single head-scratchin' second of The Sacred Rings.
And that really sums up the game and its place in the market. Only fans of the classic genre will really find much to get excited over in The Sacred Rings. The story is forgettable, the characters are lame, but the puzzles are definitely challenging.