Do you enjoy getting spooked by demonic tentacles and nightmarish books? Are you a fan of Cosmic Horror? Well, keep an eye on these upcoming titles - they may be exactly what you're after!
3. Lovecraft Tales
The first point-and-click adventure game for our list, Lovecraft Tales is still in its very early stages of development, and playing the demo, you can tell. The game aims to be an open world, non-linear story put in a side scrolling context. This of course, creates a couple of issues around the question can you have a side scrolling open world game?
The developers have done a good job at creating as open a world as possible within this format, and even in the early stages of the demo, you can get an idea of just how truly big the game world will eventually become.
However, there are two major issues that I encountered on my play through.
The first is the point-and-click aspect. The game-play involves you holding down on the mouse on the far side of the screen to get your character to run or walk in that direction. It becomes a little tedious as sometimes the character will stop, or walk or start running without warning. The movement controls would probably benefit from simply using the arrow keys on the keyboard to move, this would make the game much more free flowing.
The second issue I encountered is that because the demo alone is so big, you find yourself going through lots of different screens/areas. While outdoors, this isn’t really an issue, once your character heads inside a building, it becomes very easy to get confused and lost clicking through the different rooms, trying to find your way back to the exit.
The developers have stated they are aware of this issue and are working on fixing it so hopefully in the finished product, the game world will be much easier to navigate.
One final critique I have is the game’s day and night system. I like the idea. I like it a lot. A Lovecraftian game where the time of day and the weather changes as you play, adds that much more realism to it, but the darkness is much too dark, and when combined with the factors mentioned above, the game becomes very hard to progress through.
Negatives aside, let’s look at the positives: Lovecraft Tales has a huge amount of potential. The story from what I was able to see thus far, is very close to the source material, dark and intriguing. The art work is beautiful (although the player character needs a bit of work) and the soundtrack is very ominous.
If the designers can get a hang of the technical issues and iron them out, we are looking at a very moody, exploration into the dark world of Lovecraft, with original ideas at presenting the story, the developers are doing something that I don’t think I’ve seen done before in this context, and it will be a fascinating play through once the final game is released.
If you’re ready for a bit of 80s’ and 90s’ nostalgia, Gibbous is the game for you. Described as a “Comedy Cosmic Horror,” Gibbous is our second point and click game on the list. Taking its title from one of HP Lovecraft’s most overused words, Gibbous follows the adventures of Buzz and his cursed talking cat Kitteh, as they investigate the creepy town of Darkham, facing off against cultists, fish people and the powers of the dreaded Necronomicon itself.
Created in Transylvania by producers Stuck In Attic the game has currently been green lit on Steam, with a demo up for free download here. Reminiscent of The Monkey Island game series by Lukas Arts and Broken Sword by Revolution Software, this game is certainly one to look out for if you are into a more light-hearted approach to the Lovecraftian horror genre.
From what I was able to gather from their short demo, Gibbous appears to be a fascinating story. With beautifully animated artwork and interesting characters. However, does have a couple of potential shortcomings in the demo. The first and probably most major one in a game like this is that sometimes its humor is a little hit-and-miss. The funniest character by far is the cynical Kitteh, who’s few lines of dialogue are absolutely hilarious. According to the game’s Kickstarter page, we can expect to see a lot more of her in the full version of the game as she is a playable character (although not in the demo). Asides from Kitteh, the central character of the demo – Buzz, does have a few funny jokes to tell, but occasionally, his dialogue can be a little corny.
Another aspect that will hopefully be sorted by the time the full game is made available is the dialogue system. In true point-and-click adventure form, much of the game-play revolves around conversing with other characters, picking different dialogue lines to try get more information out of characters. Sometimes, dialogue options will result in no story progression, and you will be forced to ask the same questions just to return to the options menu with the correct dialogue line in it. This means that the story isn’t as free flowing as what is possible in current gaming technology. Personally, I would hope to see the finished version of the game become aware of what questions players have already asked characters, removing them from the options list to avoid backtracking through the same conversation multiple times just to be able to choose the right question.
Ignoring these minor issues, the game is fantastically nostalgic, and definitely something worth purchasing once it finds itself on the indie market.
1. Through The Woods
Last but not least, we have Through The Woods a survival horror game being developed by Antagonist. It revolves around a Scandinavian mother searching for her missing son amidst some very dark woods in Norway. There also appears to be a bit of Norse Mythology and Fairy Tale aspects to the game's story, although at this point, it is unclear exactly how.
At first glance, this game doesn’t seem to be particularly Lovecraftian, and maybe it isn’t. Maybe I’m totally off base here, but there’s a few aspects of the game which I noticed during playing their demo, that makes me think there’s something a bit more along the lines of cosmic horror happening here.
First off, we have the forest itself. The developers of Through the Woods have done a great job creating a beautiful, yet intimidating environment, that feels almost malevolent towards the player character is she tramps through it. This vibe of the forest being alive and insidious towards her goals calls to mind The Darkest Part of the Woods a Lovecraftian novel by horror author Ramsey Campbell, as well as more recently, the indie film The Witch for which I would argue as being cosmic horror in its atmospheric approach.
Much like these two examples, Through the Woods makes the forest and the trees themselves feel alive, which effectively makes the player feel somewhat insignificant in the face of everything around them, very Lovecraftian if you ask me.
Second, we have a mysterious shattered moon. Why does it look like that? I’m not sure, but it certainly creates the feel that something is off with the world itself.
Onto the nitty gritties – the game is beautifully designed, with great voice acting so far, and a haunting premise. The monsters are chilling, but the environment even more so, and the soundtrack only helps further that creepiness.
The game was a little bit choppy, but that’s probably more to do with it being a demo than actually reflecting the end product. As a whole, there’s not much I can fault in this game’s demo, so for this list, it is definitely my pick to keep an eye on the most.
Have you played these demos? What are your thoughts? Let me know in the comments!