E3 2019 Hands-on – Moons of Madness

A Lovecraftian horror game set in space. I’m amazed how nobody has ever thought of that prior to Rock Pocket Games, the developers behind the upcoming Moons of Madness. I had the chance to play a preview build of the game at E3 2019. Here are my thoughts.

One thing I liked about the Moons of Madness demo is that it started off in a somewhat light-hearted tone, or as light-hearted as a horror game set in space can get. You wake up from an interactive nightmare to find yourself in your room, hungover, with little knowledge of what happened the night before besides the fact that your supervisor’s bra is on your bed. After being greeted to a friend on your radio, you start off doing a few mundane tasks inside a space station, fixing some power shortages and so on, until things start getting progressively weirder.

Moons of Madness knows to pace things properly. Things didn’t become creepy from out of nowhere and in no moment I was greeted with an annoying jump scare. The game also threw some long and clever puzzles to solve; dismissing my initial idea that this would be a walking simulator with a horror coating like Layers of Fear or Don’t Knock Twice. The developers did inform me that my main character won’t have many means of defending himself against threats, but as long as the game gives me a cohesive reason as to why I’m defenseless, I’m all up for it.

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I’m so glad this game wasn’t made in Japan, or the thought of so many tentacles would totally freak me out.

If there’s one thing I have to point out, however, is that the demo suffered from one of the most annoying horror game gimmicks out there: pitch black darkness. If there’s no light source, it’s nearly impossible to see what’s in front of you. If you get a flashlight, you’ll only be able to see a lit circle in front of you, something that’s very common in cheap and poorly developed horror games. That’s something that confused me a lot, as the game’s overall graphics were far from cheap. On the contrary, the game looked absolutely gorgeous and insanely well-detailed. I hope the developers can sort things out before the final release as I can find no reason for them to hide their creation.

Moons of Madness has some annoying visual issues, especially regarding its lighting mechanics, but it’s a horror game that oozes potential. Even though the demo was quite short, it was enough to spark my interest for the final product, which is set to be released on Halloween of this year.

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