Girl meets boy playing game online. Boy courts girl. Girl falls for boy. Girl meets boy in real life. Girl makes video game based on personal story, and calls it Cibele. In Cibele, you take the role of 19 year-old Nina as she falls in love online. Cibele is a reality game based on a personal story.
Playability: Click to peep
Cibele is not a game. You have access to Nina’s desktop: emails, chats, personal pictures and an online game called Valtameri (Finn?). Nina logs on under the pseudonym Cibele to regularly play and chat with a boy named Ichi. There is no tutorial and hardly any explanation so you’ll spend a good deal of time exploring and getting to know Nina and her friends. Nina flirts online with Ichi through voice conversations. The story becomes fairly predictable as the innuendos are not very refined. The job is done less than an hour after you first loaded the game.
Annoyance: Awkward simulated online multiplayer
Cibele is a personal love story told through bits and pieces of emails, photos, chats, online conversations and the occasional video. There’s nothing particular about the story aside from the fact that it is real and personal. But then again, millions of people presumably live the same story daily, at least in America where the plot takes place. Cibele contains the primitive simulation of an online multiplayer game named Valtameri where the characters meet to bash cyber monsters and fall in love. As a game Valtameri gets close to zero points from the Old Video Gamer, but you’re unfortunately forced to grind through its levels to unfold Cibele’s plot.
Beauty: Getting too personal
Cibele’s strongest points are the real video sequences where the characters truly come to life. But these are by far too sparse. Often times, you’re left to your own devices, clicking here and there in the hope that the story will move ahead more swiftly. Online conversations between Cibele and Ichi are on the dull side and less convincing than the laidback soundtrack.
The Old Video Gamer’s Prattle: A small window on American teenage culture 5/10
As a parent, you’ll want to play Cibele. This is maybe what your kids are doing online, playing games, flirting, falling in love, making out, getting crushed and even worse. Where are the good days where you could just meet people face to face? I still remember wooing girls with ice creams, coffees and endless chit chat at cafés and cinemas, rain and shine. But maybe that was in places and cultures where people actually hang out and talk to each other rather than to their phones, pads and screens? Cibele has anthropological value, especially if you are not familiar with American teenage culture. The story is heartfelt but a short film would have been a far better medium than this contrived videogaming experience.