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MYHA – Return to the Lost Island Review

MYHA – Return to the Lost Island Review

MYHA – Return to the Lost Island Review

This is a must play for fans of the exploratory puzzler genre!

Category: Review
Written by: Cindy Kyser on April 24, 2019
Developed by: Denis Martin and Simon Says: Play!
Published by: Simon Says: Play!
Release Date: April 14, 2019
Genre: 3D Exploratory Puzzler
Platform: Windows

I am always looking for the next great adventure. While I enjoy narrative and story-driven games, I have a bias for those with clever and challenging puzzles. When I say puzzles, I don’t mean sliders or hidden object scenes. I mean PUZZLES with a capital “P!” The kind of conundrums that demand a pencil, paper, and creative problem-solving. The kind that use conceptual clues and do not provide dead giveaways.

Myst was the first time I experienced the joy of an exploratory puzzle game. Back then, there was a plethora of “Myst-like” games and some were better than others. Now, they feel few and far between which is sad. I’m the kind of player who spent 60+ hours with The Witness and lost sleep finishing Quern – Undying Thoughts. I jump at the chance to play puzzle games like The Room series, Rusty Lake titles, and anything by Glitch Games.

I ran into MYHA – Return to the Lost Island quite by accident. I missed the 2017 Kickstarter campaign, so it was not on my radar. While perusing new titles on Steam, this one jumped out at me as my kind of game. I started playing and was totally immersed within the first 10 minutes. MYHA is based on the The Black Cube Series by Simon Mesnard. It was developed by Denis Martin of Babel Studio with collaboration from members of The Icehouse community. Olivier Maurey designed the music and sound.

MYHA opens with a rocket launching into space and landing on a moon-like surface. You explore, find a surface anomaly, and are transported to a lush island. Like the monolith in 2001: A Space Odyssey, a mysterious black cube appears to be responsible for your spatial shift. You have a radio that receives diary entries and picks up messages. You learn that your mission is to locate a fellow space traveler and bring him home.

The game is played from a 1st-person perspective as you explore a beautiful and richly detailed 3D environment. Built with the Unity Engine, the controls are familiar, and navigation is easy. Your journey is accompanied by a lovely soundtrack and the only voice-overs are the recorded messages that you find along your way. There are numerous objects to pick up and examine but only a handful that are carried with you for later use. As you traverse the island, you begin to get a sense of those who lived there in the past and the missing person’s path.

Your first task is to start walking and get the lay of the land. What is nice about MYHA is that, while there is a lot to see and do, you are exploring a fairly small island. This means that you do not have to spend hours traversing the landscape and can quickly build a mental map. There are additional areas that are hidden until you find clues that allude to their existence and lead you to their access codes.

I cruised around and examined everything in sight. I found my first puzzle. The developers were smart to give the new player a not-too-difficult success early in the game. I opened my first locked door and thought “YES!! I can DO this!” You soon learn that there is a unique numbering system in use and you need to figure it out. What looks like gibberish falls into place and you are suddenly able to understand symbols across the island. MYHA has a nice variety of puzzles and there are no repeats. All make sense within the context of the story and it’s obvious that a lot of time was invested in puzzle planning and execution. Some require spatial visualization; some use sounds and/or color; some involve operating machinery; and some involve math. I used a pencil and paper multiple times and made charts of symbols and planets. Someone who is not a gamer would have thought I was certifiable, as a pile of cryptic notes began growing on my desk.


I struggled mightily with one puzzle. I had the clues but could not piece them together in a solution that fit. This is where the magic happened. On the Steam discussion board, I found people who understood the puzzle and were kind enough to give me a nudge. I did not want a solution. I wanted to understand what was not obvious to me. What I learned is that there are areas that are easy for me like shapes, colors, sounds, and machinery. For others, it is math with angles and radians or the visual acuity needed to find a small point of interest on a beach littered with rocks. In a game like MYHA, with diverse puzzles, not every player will excel at every puzzle. And that is okay. As a developer pointed out to me, that’s what community is all about. To help each other using our strengths in areas where others have weaknesses. Sounds a bit like real life, eh?

If you are a gamer who loves thoughtful exploration and puzzles that challenge, then MYHA – Return to the Lost Island is the game for you. If you are chasing the next Cyan release, then MYHA is a game that should be on your list to play in the meantime. It is well-designed and beautifully put together. As a bonus, the island is a lovely place to spend time in. Days and nights are short, so you get to enjoy dawn and dusk many times as you orbit around a larger planet that fills the sky. The beaches sparkle, the birds sing, and the remnants of past visitors are interesting and fun to find. The story comes to an interesting conclusion and completing the game gives one a great sense of satisfaction.

For me, the acid test for a game is whether it motivates me to keep playing. If a game is good, then time slips by, unnoticed, and I don’t mind spending hours in search of a missing clue. I don’t mind being stumped and the last thing I want to do is run to a YouTube walkthrough. I spent over 20 hours in MYHA and I never lost interest.

My only suggestions for improving your own game experience are to (1) use the game settings to increase the cursor size and (2) remember that inventory is accessed with the mouse wheel. The default cursor is a small microdot on the screen that often gets lost when your flashlight is on. Since the mouse wheel is not mentioned on the controls screen, figuring it out becomes a puzzle if you are not familiar with games built using Unreal Engine 4.

There are two other Black Cube games on Steam – ASA: A Space Adventure (Remastered) released in 2015 and Catyph: The Kunci Experiment released in 2016. Both received mixed reviews. However, when I read through them on Steam, the positive reviews appear to come from players like me. So, I am inclined to circle back to both and spend some additional time hanging out with the black cube!

Grade A-

+ Beautiful 3D environment to explore at your own pace
+ Challenging and diverse puzzles
+ Interesting backstory told through messages and artifacts
+ Developers and other players are kind and highly responsive to game questions posted on Steam
Those players who are not fond of puzzles that require serious consideration may want to skip this title


System Requirements

Windows 7, 8, or 10 – 64 Bit
Quad Core Intel i5 3,4 Ghz – or equivalent
GeForce GTX 470
DirectX : Version 11
5 GB Storage space
Mouse + keyboard. Includes hearing aid and colour-blind options

Cindy Kyser

Cindy Kyser

Cindy’s love affair with gaming began when she opened a mailbox in front of a white house and took the first step in a long series of adventures. ‘Back in the day,’ Cindy was a regular contributor to JA and an active member of the online gaming community. She has attended several E3s and has had the pleasure of spending time in person with both Ray and Randy. Her all- time favorite adventures include the Tex Murphy series, the Gabriel Knight series, and The Longest Journey. She also enjoys RPGs and her list of ‘best ever’ includes Fallout, Asheron’s Call, and Planescape Torment. Â Frustrated with the cost of rising PC system requirements, Cindy decided to switch to console and tablet gaming. Although you can teach some old dogs new tricks, she discovered that console controller dexterity is a skill set that she is lacking. Her results with tablet gaming were not much better. With the exception of a few gems such as The Room and Forever Lost, there is a limit to how much one can play Candy Crush and Hidden Object Adventures. Having proved that pure escapism is worth the investment, she has a new gaming laptop and is back to her search for the perfect adventure. Â After spending most of her life in Los Angeles and Atlanta, Cindy escaped the stress of urban life and moved to rural Arkansas. To show that she has become a true Arkansan, she has taken up deer hunting, wears pink camo, and put a chicken coop in her backyard. On a stressful day, she can be heard yelling ‘Woo Pig Sooie’ when all else fails.

1 Comment
  1. Prom361
    April 27, 2019 at 2:00 pm Reply

    Thank you very much for this review!
    I’m also a fan of games with real puzzles! and not just a linear story where the player doesn’t have much to do or think about in the end!

    unfortunately, the kind of game like Myha, don’t have much success, so we do articles on specialized adventure game sites: it does us the most good!

    while waiting to go back to the sequel of my first game: RoonSehv: NeTerra, I will think about mini scenes or projects to improve my skills on the graphics engine!

    thanks again and see you soon!

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