I just love it whenever I watch a movie where someone simply follows their routine and then some weird thing happens that completely throws everyone on a loop. There’s something fascinating about the mundane suddenly getting turned on its head. That’s exactly what Moons of Madness is all about, and after running through its E3 demo, I can say for sure that I want to see where its twisting web of events leads to.
In the demo, I woke up as a lazy researcher stationed at a Mars lab as yet another day at work is about to begin. But before I’m up, I witness a weird dream where dreadful things have happened all over the base, and as soon as I’m about to find just what the hell has been going on, I’m really up for good, and boy, my guy really wanted some coffee. So we went to get some coffee. Ate some protein bars. Exercised. Talked to my willy office worker over our comm. Then some things started to happen. At first, just normal tasks that maintenance work took care of. Eventually, it got dark, I caught a glimpse of a huge Cthulhu-like creature, with tentacles for arms, and that’s where the demo ended.
Moons of Madness is a first-person exploration game, one like the many people would call walking simulators, but with some light puzzle-solving, not unlike a game I recently reviewed, Layers of Fear 2. The horror in it comes from slight changes to what otherwise would be extremely mundane things, and from the very little that the demo showed, it feels like it’ll develop its scares through the reactions of its protagonist, and how things that would otherwise be normal to him are somewhat changed, be it people he once knew acting out differently than expected, or merely changing the safety of his little world inside the lab.
I really appreciated the way that Moons of Madness dropped its hints of what could eventually be ahead in terms of story development. The dream at the beginning not only served as an action tutorial taking place on the run, but also served as possible foreshadowing to just how dark the game will get, which might prove to be a red herring too. Either way, I dug how it carried out the pacing and built it up to an abrupt close as the demo drew its curtains. Honestly, I thought I had seen enough by the point that the creature showed up, and wanted to keep it fresh for when I actually get to play this game for real.
If you’re anything like me and are an occasional dabbler in horror, I’d say Moons of Madness might be worth keeping an eye on. Luckily, we won’t have to wait too long in order to find out what is actually going on, as Funcom is planning to release it on Halloween this year for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.