Based on H.P. Lovecraft ‘s novel “At the Mountain of Madness” Zoetrope Interactive bring us Conarium. Basically, bringing the story to life in game form. With its dark corridors and events transcending everything that the human mind can comprehend, Frank Gilman (this story’s protagonist) has to uncover what happened to the base where he and his fellow scientist resided to conduct experiments with a device called ‘The Conarium’. Will he have what it takes to survive and reveal the dark secrets buried here, or will he be sent to the looney bin? That’s for us to discover. Those weak of heart or easily scared might want to look away, because this spooky adventure is something out of this world. So, let’s put on our adult diapers once more and try to keep our sanity, in… Conarium!
What is Good?
- Voice actors: Part of Conarium ‘s story is told by the Frank himself. Though other characters come in to play as well. In my opinion they did an amazing job. There’s even one voice that reminded me of Christopher Lee (Saruman in Lord of the Rings). Albeit that it sometimes derives from the game’s tension. They all still deliver a worthy part towards the enjoyment of this novel based game.
- Spooky vibe: As I said, this game is a suspenseful and tension-based game. And it surely does what it sets out to be. Now, it isn’t a horror game what so ever. This is more the kind that loves to give you some mental abuse, and makes you beg for more after its done. The dark fog filled corridors of the base do their best to give you that claustrophobic feeling you should normally get in this genre of games. Everything just sets the mood right up for an intense experience that makes you grasp for a moment of respite.
- Loves to test your sanity: As previously stated, this game likes to toy with your mental stability. I actually had a few moments where I stopped and thought to myself, wait… Was that there the entire time? I could have sworn that it wasn’t. Or happenings that you could tell, oh now something bad is going to happen… But doesn’t and lulls you in with a false sense of security, ready to rip it away in a moment’s notice. Never trust anything in this game, that’s what I’d say!
- Chamber of secrets: During my playthrough, I couldn’t help but get that feeling of “hey, I know I’ve played a game like this”, but never could put my finger to it. Until I encountered one of its puzzles. ‘RIVEN’. This is exactly how it plays. You mostly just walk around and interact with the environment. Solving puzzles along the way. Some of them are hidden away and you could accidentally just walk right past them without having an impact on the story’s development. But they do give you some more in-depth information. So, I’d say. Explore Explore Explore! It truly is worth it.
- Lengthy..ish?: You can complete this game in anywhere between 3 and 5 hours. 5 if you include every secret and puzzle. It felt a bit like a letdown, especially because it is still quite an enjoyable game that looks nice to boot. I just wanted to be able to see more, you know? Ah well, maybe next novel…
- Price: This ties in a bit with the length of the game. It’s quality surely would warrant the price, but not the length. Its just another tiny little letdown in an otherwise decent game!
What is Bad?
- Enhanced but poorly optimized: I really squinted my eyes at this part. It says that It’s xbox one x optimized. So, I would think that there wouldn’t be any problems in here. My god was I mistaken at certain parts. There are parts where the FPS would drop significantly, making it visually detectable that I was running on a sub-par frame rate. Given, there is a performance option and a visual option. But come on. On the One X you wouldn’t expect these drastic drops. Especially when looking at other games like Metro: Exodus or Far cry: New Dawn. Which run smoothly with more action on the screen than conarium ever offers.
I love reading books, and I love dramatic stories. Yet I have never read an H.P. Lovecraft story. This game surely has made me want to go and pick up one of his novels. With and excellent story pace as well as gorgeous graphics, this surely is an experience! With gameplay that made me feel like I was going to get spooked around every corner, and questioned my sanity! I really did enjoy this short little novel turned into game format. If you can look past the frame drops and enjoy games that build up tension? Then you might want to try this one out. Though there wasn’t much to write about since it mostly is just walking around and interacting with what is around you, you’ll notice that this is more a game you’ll have to experience by yourself then read about. Now that that’s over, time to go relax a bit… Wait… Did I leave that door open? Oh well…