Mata Nui Online Game

released on Jan 01, 2001

A modular Flash point-and-click adventure game developed and updated throughout 2001 by Templar Studios LLC. for the LEGO Group, Mata Nui Online Game (or MNOG) is a game that brought the world of Bionicle to life.

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EDIT - redoing this review. originally had a big one typed in, then i closed my tab like a dingus, then i made a short review that sucked.
Mata Nui Online Game is one of my favorite games ever made and is easily the best non-literary work to have come from the BIONICLE "series". the way that Templar Studios managed to realize the world of BIONICLE and nail its identity this early into the toyline's life cycle is simply astonishing. atmosphere drips from every corner of every screen in this Myst-esque adventure. as an introduction it is flawless; the island's idiosyncratic inhabitants effortlessly exposit in a way that is neither patronizing nor completely obtuse. the animated cutscenes, in spite of any "flash jank", are so well-directed i'd say they give any game from this era a run for their money. the music is tragically compressed all to hell but one can argue this only helps enhance the atmosphere. i think this is just a wonderful title and i'd readily recommend it to anyone interested in this series.

this game really makes you FEEL like a Bionicle
ok but for real, I loved this. it took me longer than it should have because I kept getting lost and confused... the first person perspective isn't the greatest for a point and click game, imo. but this game kicks ass. stylistically very nice looking, and literally every character won me over. I love them all. real. well, except for the evil asshole selling the poisoned footballs. that guy sucks

Can be a bit unintuitive at times, and there are duller moments such as Onu-Koro's dimly lit caves and the tedium of gathering the alliance together, but overall kino

This game means a lot to me and I'm feel no shame in admitting that it's mostly nostalgia
For a flash game from 2001 this is insanely impressive, with a lot of atmosphere
Mata Nui is an incredibly memorable place and is still my favorite story arc in Bionicle
The music, though the sound quality is very muffled, is really memorable, especially the foreboding ambience that plays on the telescope cliff
The artstyle is timeless, though it does suffer from the occasional jpeg sky background

You have to respect the ambition.
When this game came out, my knowledge of Bionicle was "six toys with CGI-decorated cylinders," and 20 years later, that knowledge has not changed much. I do remember trying to play this on our ancient computer with our terrible, not-high speed internet, and never got much farther than the first NPC. But reading the wikipedia article now, apparently this was updated episodically, so maybe there wasn't more to find!
For a kid's toy advertising campaign piece in 2001, this was mind-blowing, 5/5 stars. As a child used to finding terrible flash games (without Google) that barely improved upon the arcade concepts they were plagiarizing, having a full point-and-click adventure playable in-browser was beyond conceptualization. And for free? It's no wonder this franchise helped save Lego. Once I learned this game had been preserved past the death of flash, I jumped at the chance to finish it.
Mata Nui Online Game rides that line of "can't be too good because we're giving it away" while having some inspired moments that show the care that went into its creation. As someone who tried and gave up on making things in flash, I know drawing these highly technical and detailed character models would have been an absolute nightmare, so the variety of animation frames is truly impressive. Beyond superfluous waves from NPCs, there are panning, dolly, and perspective camera shots that would have required so much effort and resulted in so little payout - the kind of touches I appreciate the most.
I will admit I got stuck more than once for reasons beyond obtuse point-and-click adventure trappings. Some screens were only accessible if you went half-way to a location, turned around, and panned to the side. Perhaps this would have been less a concern in 2001, where the commitment to changing areas was so much higher, forcing any kid playing to ravenously scan every screen for every possible point of interactivity. Some of the mini-games were not intuitive to me, either, in a way that made me realize how computer interfacing has changed with the domination of touch screens and track pads. Clicking and holding, holding and dragging are gameplay concepts immediately more graspable with a physical mouse in-hand.
The story was convoluted lore core nonsense purposefully withheld to encourage buying a million toys and increasing multimedia engagement. Character writing was stiff and awful in the way 90's nerds thought something being fantasy / sci-fi was interesting enough to ignore stilted dialog and plot-first padding. In this case, they're almost right, as the ambiguity of the physiology of the beings in the Bionicle universe is intriguing. Are they robots? Are they organic? What do they think they are? How would culture develop in a world and society of beings that looked like this?
2 stars, C rank. An important game in the history of flash and in-browser experiences, but now mostly only enjoyable as a time capsule. You can finish in about 3 hours with the walkthrough, fewer if you realize the game gives you a fast-travel song to play on your flute. Closer to 9 hours if you want to faithfully recreate the loading times between areas from its original release.