Baron Wittard: Nemesis of Ragnarök – Review

Title   Baron Wittard: Nemesis of Ragnarök
Developer  Wax Lyrical Games
Publisher  Iceberg Interactive
Platform  PC
Genre  Point 'n' Click, Graphic Adventure, Mystery
Release Date  18th February, 2011

“I took imagination, light and space and with these things I built a great city.”

Wittard Utopia; one man’s dream that sadly never realised its full potential. A building intended to house an entire city under one roof: apartments, restaurants, leisure facilities, shops, bars and gardens. Now the apartments are crumbling, the restaurants grow mould, the bars gather dust, and the lights flicker ominously. Utopia has been abandoned and has fallen to decay, but it is not as empty as you might think….

Your journey begins with a phone call from your editor, Kate, as you are driving towards your destination. Armed only with a camcorder, your goal is to break into the Utopia and take some photos for a magazine article. Although how you are meant to do that without an actual camera, I don’t know.  Things soon take a rather more interesting turn however. Shortly after finding a way in you come across an amulet… that then starts to speak to you. The voice is none other than Baron Wittard himself communicating with you from the spirit world. It turns out that the powers-that-be have different plans for you: apparently you are the ‘Chosen One’ – the only one capable of preventing Ragnarök, the end of the world. No pressure then. The one threatening life as we know it is Fenrir – Destroyer Of Worlds, and he is now hunting you.

Did Red John destroy the Baron's Utopia?

Your quest to save the world consists of finding ten rune stones and then dissolving them in specially made devices to extract their energies and open the way to the Well Of Hvergelmir, the portal between realms. This is where you must use the amulet to seal the portal and imprison Fenrir once more.  You do get a choice of what to do at the end, albeit a rather under-dramatic one, but the only difference between the two endings are a few lines of dialogue… and your conscience.  Of course saving the world is never that easy, and this is no exception. The rune stones (which bear quite a resemblance to the stones from the film ‘Indiana Jones And The Temple Of Doom’) are scattered around the decaying Utopia, as are the devices needed to activate them. Not only that, but after figuring out which stone goes with which device, you will have to solve a puzzle in order to activate it.

The puzzles come in two types and there are plenty of both. The self-contained ones don’t need any extra information to solve them, but the other type usually needs some kind of clue or information found elsewhere in the game. They range from ‘easy-if-you-have-the-right-information’ to the ‘tear-your-hair-out-while-randomly-clicking’ variety.  One particularly troublesome puzzle involves counting how many coloured symbols you see scattered around the building and then entering them as a safe combination. Not hard, you’d be forgiven for thinking, but here’s the catch: the damn things are very easy to miss. So unless you want to comb the entire Utopia again – walls, floors, ceilings, furniture and objects – then for heaven’s sake be thorough on your first sweep. Look everywhere and at everything, and most importantly: write down which colour symbol you saw and where so you don’t double count them. Luckily this will only be a problem on your first play-through because the combo never changes. Just don’t loose your notes.  Seriously.

The nastiest puzzle though, without a doubt, is the chessboard in the Baron’s apartment. No, it’s not the sliding tile one, (yes of course there’s a sliding tile puzzle, isn’t there always?) trust me this one’s worse. You have a chessboard that’s empty but for a lone knight in the top corner which then has to be moved until you’ve landed on every single square… but only once, ugh.

There’s no inventory to speak of, and therefore few inventory based puzzles (strangely enough for this type of adventure), the only things you get to take with you are the amulet and rune stones, and of course the camcorder that you start off with (which in my opinion is horribly under-used). So if you want to pocket that torch, pick up a postcard for the family or empty the till then you’re fresh out of luck, which is a shame for us inventory packrats. You do find a couple of hand drawn maps on your travels but probably won’t use them all that much.

You see the world through a 2D first person perspective with the camera locked onto the cursor and smoothly flowing, but with the option of separating the two with a right click of your mouse to enable you to access the inventory at the bottom of the screen and the menu and camcorder at the top. Play time for Baron Wittard is around fifteen hours first time through, depending on how long you spend on the puzzles and exploration.

I wouldn’t call it a scary game, it’s more like a thriller than a horror. There are a couple of supremely tense moments though, such as when you are in the medical bay and the lights go out and… well I won’t spoil it for you. Suffice to say I stopped breathing for a couple of minutes, gripped in a vice-like tension. Another comes later when you get out of the lift and turn a corner, only to hear… dammit… I really don’t want to spoil it for anyone, but it’s definitely an “Oh shit!” moment.

The tension and immersion are heightened by the wonderful graphic quality; from dank tunnels to a rusting rooftop observatory, every location is pixel-perfect, smooth and completely fitting with the feel of the game. However, the haunting, desolate atmosphere of the Utopia is not only down to the eerie locations you find yourself wandering through. The sound effects, ambiance and music are all perfectly matched to their environment and are of excellent quality. From the sound of fizzing lights to your own heartbeat, everything is spot on. It’s just a shame the same thing can’t be said for the voice acting. Well, Baron Wittard’s voice is great at least, but Kate? Oh hell no. I still can’t decide if it’s a badly written script for that particular character or just terrible execution on the actor’s part. I’m inclined to think that perhaps it’s a combination of both.

The script is bad: stiff, formal, poor word choice and no apostrophes. No-one actually talks like that, but then you don’t have to read it out word for word in a flat unemotional, unnatural-sounding tone of voice – that’s where the acting part comes in surely? A bit of improvisation, inflection, intonation, or emotion, just something, to make it sound a bit more human and less like someone is just reading verbatim off a page would have been great. She does improve a little when voicing Fenrir though, but not a great deal. Still, other than thinking “Ugh” when you hear your character’s phone go off, it doesn’t ruin an otherwise great game.

The intriguing locations, threatening story, compelling sounds and challenging puzzles will all have you hooked from the very beginning, sucking you into a sombre, lonely, believable world whose fate is in your hands. Despite being very puzzle heavy, it is definitely a game I’d recommend playing if you’re even halfway interested in the genre.



  • Great atmosphere
  • Some very tense moments
  • Immersive audio
  • Being based on on Norse mythology makes a nice change
  • Black and white live action intro is a nice touch
  • Very puzzle heavy
  • Sliding tile puzzle. Need I say more?
  • Awful voice acting from one of the characters
  • You only get to use your camcorder once

A wonderfully tense puzzle-filled point and click adventure game based on Norse mythology. The eerie locations and beautiful soundtrack will immerse you into the decaying remnants of the Baron's dream Utopia and hurl you alone into a struggle to save the world from an ancient entity set upon destroying it. Do you have the willpower, resilience, intelligence and spiritual strength needed to be the chosen one? Only one way to find out. Packed to the rafters with puzzles (to breaking point, almost), Baron Wittard is a mystery thriller with a compelling story and, despite a few niggles, is well worth playing.

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  1. Lorna Lorna says:

    The screens for this look pretty tasty to be honest, although the wall to wall puzzles are a touch off putting. I like games to have a lot of breathing room between potentially faffy stuff, especially when a sliding puzzle could be lurking around the corner ready to kick you in the face. I suppose I veer more towards preferring story based stuff, though the story and concept here are certainly intriguing. I love the idea of an abandoned, broken down utopia.

    Those stones really do look like they’ve been nicked from Indy ;) Good review!

  2. Lee says:

    This sounds like it might be one of those games that would make me want to twist my keyboard in half. You’re right about them stones I’d struggle not to start chanting kali ma shakti de every time I picked one. :D

    I hope we start getting more Norse in games – it could be the new zombies.

  3. Samuel Samuel says:

    There needs to be more Norse mythology in gaming. I studied it some years ago, and remain fascinated with it. Considering just how rich it is, moreso I would argue than contemporary religions like the old Greek and Roman pantheons, it’s astounding that more games haven’t mined it for ideas.

    I know that usually I read one of your point and click reviews and say I’ll play it in the future and then never do, but this time I am going to find this game and play it. It sounds great, it makes references to one of my favourite historical subjects, and also the box will look pretty damned swanky on my shelf with your quote and the site’s name on the front of it. It’s no Shelf of Adventure, but still. I think it could work.

    Great review as always Tania.

  4. Tania Tania says:

    (^^,) Thanks guys.
    @ Samuel: Yeah I can’t wait to have a boxed copy for my collection, I can show it with pride to anyone who comes to my house! I just can’t really afford it yet, so it’ll prob have to wait a bit.
    I love Norse mythology too, havn’t studied it as much as I have Egyption and Native American, but it’s on my look-into list of things that interest me. So hopfully I’ll get round to it when time and resources allow.

  5. Adam Adam says:

    Some really nice rendering gone into creating the scenes on this, amazes me that Point N Click can be so varied with presentation yet always so detailed.

    Another really great Review Tan :)

  6. Edward Edward says:

    Another great job, Tania!
    It’s awesome that this is the game you got quoted on the box cover for, too :)

  7. Mark R MarkuzR says:

    My comment from yesterday has either vanished completely or Lorna distracted me before I submitted it and then I moved to another page… either way, it ain’t here now dammit. Going back to what I’d said on the preview though, I think it looks gorgeous and I’m just pulled in by the visuals before even knowing what the game is about. Perhaps it’s a shallow approach to why I’d pop that game in my basket but I can’t think of any reason that a game developer would go to such lengths for stunning visuals if they were going to make a half arsed attempt with anything else. OK, Rise Of The Robots did it, and so did Shadow Of The Beast but games were very VERY different back then and Baron Wittard doesn’t have “Of The” in the title so hopefully that was the cause of the “great visuals, shame about the game” curse.

    The new laptop (thanks, MoreThan) has given me a whole new desire to jump back into PC gaming and there seems to be an abundance of Point N Click games right now, as Lorna pointed out recently, so yeah… I’m still up for playing this. Two Worlds II is almost completed, New Vegas pissed all over my enjoyment of it and it makes sense for me to get stuck into some P&C games before embarking on my trip through Gothic IV. I’ll send you a postcard from Wittard Utopia.

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