Moons of Madness


Moons of Madness

Engineer Dr Shane Newehart is part of a secret expedition to Mars. On behalf of the science company Orochi, he and the rest of the team are to find out whether the dead celestial body is suitable as an alternative habitat to Earth. To get to the bottom of this question, experiments are carried out on animals and plants under the hostile conditions of the red planet, samples are collected for analysis and the data extracted from it is sent to Earth. Over a long period of time, the work in the Trailblazer Alpha, the name of the research station, seemed to run smoothly and the announced reinforcement for the team was also to arrive shortly. But then the complications accumulate: systems fail, an above-average storm searches the planet's surface and the crew is collectively plagued by nightmarish visions. The technician is desperate for damage limitation, but as rumours of a supernatural being spread in the form of a ground-based witch, Dr Newehart suspects that her research has opened a door that would have been best closed.

The heavy load of insulation

Moons of Madness is a story-focused horror game. In terms of gameplay, comparable to a Layers of Fear, this adventure takes us into the uncomfortable isolation of a dead planet. Accompanied by the pressure of permanent loneliness and fatal complications, we witness the protagonist increasingly slipping into the depths of madness, his reality being interspersed with disturbing visions. In staging, Moons of Madness turned out to be a real treat when it came to gamble. Thus, the setting is absolutely atmospheric and in love with detail. Dynamic shadows chase across the station's narrow corridors, broken screens create ominous lighting moods, and the superbly mixed sound is the icing on the cake of this wonderful display of horror. I was able to play Moons of Madness with my system (more details, you can find in the info box) with very high level of detail and a 2K image resolution constantly with 60 FPS. Only when it was saved automatically did there occur minor drops in the frame rate. The control system also worked perfectly with the gamepad.


In addition to the morbid births of our minds, we also seek real threats after life. Be it the lack of oxygen on our expeditions across the surface of Mars, unforeseen obstacles or encounters with the results of our research. The encounters with the latter, as well as the use of hallucinations, are always strictly scripted. A fact that does not turn out to be a problem, however, as the set jump scares and action sequences are well placed and never used in an inflationary way. In general, Moons of Madness is very linear, so there is not much to discover apart from the given paths. But the streamlined staging does this kind of game, in my opinion, more than good. After about seven hours of playing time, the credits flickered across the screen, and I hadn't even felt that my experience was going to drag on all the time.

Great role models and great history

In addition to H.P. Lovecraft, Moons of Madness was inspired by the survival horror classic Dead Space. Like Issac Clarke, Dr. Shane Newehart is an engineer with the stated main goal of getting the store up and running again. For example, much of the tasks in Moons of Madness are basically a technician's everyday life: maintenance and repairs! However, in order to prevent this from becoming too barren, developer Rock Pocket Games garnishes those activities with some – surprisingly demanding – head nuts. For example, we need to steer energy from one point to another. However, we must not exceed a certain limit value. Finding the right path is quite challenging. It is usually worth searching the surrounding area for clues to solve the problem.





It's not just thanks to his scenario that Moons of Madness has a unique selling point in the genre. Even the excellent writing knows how to convince on a whole level. Dr. Shane Newehart has a lot of flesh on the bone as a character. He has personality, background, speaks and reacts humanly to what is happening. Connoisseurs of Layers of Fear or Visage know that these virtues in this kind of game are anything but self-evident. Even though both are great horror titles, they resemble a ghost train and the character we play is no more than the car we enter. Moons of Madness works great for me at this level, because I'm not only worried about the horror lurking behind the next door, no, I'm also feverish with the protagonist, and that has its own quality. The story and its lore are also very exciting. She cleverly builds up a mystery that is anchored in Dr. Newehart's past. As a result, I sat in front of the screen as if i had been banished and put the seven hours I mentioned behind me during a night, because I wanted to know so much what was behind it. Moons of Madness is very captivating, but have I also been grunting? No, but that was not the fault of the game, but personal idiosyncrasy. I find space horror cool and also gripping, but he doesn't scare me. Dead Space couldn't do that in his time, because the events are too far from my own reality. But that's not a shortcoming, I think, because Moons of Madness works for me on many other levels. Fans of Alien, H.P. Lovecraft or Event Horizon should definitely take a look. You will not regret it!

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