Version tested: Retro
Anyone who was drawn by the excellent artwork for Nodes of Yesod may have been surprised to find that this wasn't a serious game about space exploration. A quick read of the instructions will soon shoot down any thoughts of serious back stories and simulation style game play.
Nodes is the story of a dapper young man by the auspicious name of Charlemagne Fotheringham-Grunes, who's task is to investigate strange signals being received from the moon. The fact that rather than a full spacesuit, Charlie is wearing his normal day attire with a helmet dumped on top suggests that our hero was not the first choice for this foolhardy mission.
Once he arrives on the moon Charlie must enlist the help of astronaut's best friend, the Lunar Mole. With sidekick in tow you must explore the surface and caverns of the moon in search of the eight crystal keys (in a tribute to the film 2001: A Space Odyssey, the crystals reveal the source of the signals to be a strange black monolith).
Now something very strange must have happened to the moon (or the minds of the Odin programming team). The creatures that inhabit the desolate lump of rock are teddy bears on springs, mechanical tortoises and all kinds of other strange hybrids. Worse though is the gang of vicious space muggers who, no doubt to feed their crack (geddit?) habit, are hell bent on relieving you of the crystals you have work so hard to locate. The puzzles are never too taxing, but there are so many of them that the game will still take a considerable effort to complete. Nodes' is also beautifully illustrated and you will no doubt waste a few lives performing spectacular leaps from high platforms just to see Charlie's acrobatic somersaults.
Famously, Stuart Fotheringham has gone on record to say that Nodes is actually a rushed re-write of a much better game that was lost in a microdrive crash. Judging by the final result, maybe other programmers should have employed that tactic too.
9 / 10