A very welcome and unexpected highlight of Gamescom was spotting the ‘photo op’ cut out for Moons of Madness. The game stand it self was hidden out of the way with 2 representatives almost hiding the stand it was playable on.
I’d been aware of this game from press publications so was keen to give it a go. Upon asking I was told they were awaiting someone who’d booked a slot to try it, but their expected players hadn’t arrived yet so they let me slide on briefly until their booked in guests arrived.
Moons of Madness is developed by Norwegian indie developers Rock Pocket Games. The premise of the game is that a signal has been discovered coming from Mars, the intent is to keep this secret from the public so a state of the art research facility known as Invictus was created to deep further into the signals. You play as a technician on Invictus with low level security clearance, so much like the general public, you are unaware of the purpose of this research facility and the signal coming from the planet. Things start to go awry and you slowly start seeing things, hallucinating and possibly descend into…. madness.
Cool concept, very cool, and reminds me of Eternal Darkness from Silicon Knights on the Gamecube.
Well our time on the demo was limited, and you know what, that suited me just fine. This game has a tremendously creepy atmosphere, and it’s one I feel i’d enjoy more at home by myself with no other noise distractions which you can’t avoid at Gamescom. Plus if I’m going to jump out of my seat and curse I’d rather do it alone without Will and other onlookers watching me.
The demo had me awakening from my room and exploring destroyed dark corridors with unworldly looking tentacles sprouting from walls and the ceiling. There are so many corridors each of them dark and me with a small flashlight. I progress so slowly and steadily and I can feel Will laughing behind me at how cautious I am.
I check each wall and the ceiling before every move I make, I swear I hear or see a shadow rush past a corridor and turn instantly to flash the light at it…. Nothing. I then end up in a control room and voice can be heard. I approach a monitor and there it is. My first jump scare of the game. I maintain myself and keep my shriek muted, but my heart is going nuts and I’m pretty sweaty. The game then seemingly has you wake up again in your cabin, but everything seems normal now, you explore your room, read emails, check photos. And this is sadly where my time ended.
I can only assume this was a sign of the madness kicking in? The station at this point might be completely alien free? But the first part is a dream or hallucination that startles the protagonist back to the real world where we start again? It was great fun though for sure.
The game is out on Halloween fittingly and felt superb on this demo. I was pretty gripped on my short spell with it and would liked to have progressed more with some further signs of madness kicking in.
It’s a really dark and atmospheric game from the brief time I had with it and can see it being great fun with lots of tense corridor creeping. Something I’ve not felt since Deadspace or Resident Evil. Not bad company to be in.
Pleasant surprise of Gamescom which should have had a more prominent display to get more people onto it I feel.