Some horror games succeed by being downright terrifying. They throw everything they have at you, from grotesque and twisted depictions of familiar objects to constant jump scares and frightening monstrosities.
Then you have games like Mundaun, a creation of indie developer Hidden Fields that opts for subtlety over the expected tropes of the horror genre. Take one glimpse at screenshots from Mundaun, and you can immediately tell that you’re in for a unique experience, its hand-penciled visuals lending an eeriness that would be lost in a traditionally rendered 3D world.
If you would like to experience this hand penciled world for yourself, get some Steam Wallet Codes and get the game on Steam now!
Mundaun isn’t a one-trick pony. Yes, the unusual world and character designs are strikingly different from most horror titles we’ve played, but the real perks (and faults) of Hidden Fields’ debut title lay in the many facets of the adventure that awaits.
It all starts with some sad news. The protagonist is summoned after his grandfather is killed in a mysterious fire with no known cause. Urged to uncover more about his grandfather’s sudden and suspicious passing, the protagonist sets out to revisit the titular location, a place he left behind in his childhood.
Of course, Mundaun does latch onto some horror tropes, and you can bet this return to his past will get the protagonist caught up in a heap of trouble. The gloomy town has something to hide, and its secrets will send players to the very edges of insanity.
As the adventure delves a little deeper into the Swiss village and the presence of a malevolent entity twists a once familiar world, Mundaun begins to create a diverging path. On one branch is an atmospheric horror game that tells a beautifully spun story through magnificently hand-drawn setpieces. The other is a rather generic horror adventure that stumbles in most aspects as it carries over from similar titles.
The Puzzles & Combat
To progress the story further and make any headway in Mundaun, players often have to solve an assortment of puzzles. Unfortunately, they add no real challenge to the game and can be solved rather easily. Many are diluted to finding the right key to unlock a door, which does offer an opportunity to explore the penciled world and soak in its choppy weirdness.
These uninspiring puzzles should have been left on the floor or retooled into something more entertaining and challenging. It can all feel very tacked on. In so many ways, Mundaun appears to work better as an interactive horror adventure than a full-on video game.
Mundaun also tries its hand at combat against the sluggish fiends manifested from the heart of the curse. Whether poking the uninspired creatures with a pitchfork or wasting precious ammo, players aren’t going to be too enthralled by these slow, clunky, uninspired segments.
However, there is a bit of variety in what players will encounter, depending on whether you’re trekking through the village during the day or at night. It’s not much, but the change is welcome and keeps the overall experience from getting too stale.
Players can also choose to keep hidden or attacking head-on to add a bit of variety to the combat gameplay. Quite often, the former is always the best and easiest option, though going the stealth route does take away one of the game’s few gameplay mechanics. Then again, the game does give you a Health and Courage gauge to watch out for, so you know going toe-to-toe with something malevolent is inevitable, no matter how hard you try to stick to the shadows.
Unfortunately, there isn’t much in the way of very entertaining and upbeat gameplay. It’s all-too-easy to become engaged with exploring the strange lands and getting to know its sinister undertones, only to have your time hindered by pop-up puzzle-solving and bland combat.
Its world is absolutely one worth exploring, but most of what you have to do within the village only serve to chop up the haunting tale. But if you can dredge through the game’s duller sections, you’ll be treated to stellar storytelling that reminds you why you haven’t turned the game off shortly after your last combat segment.
Quite frankly, horror games were slowly moving away from action-heavy experiences, and, at its core, Mundaun definitely continues in that direction. This allows it to survive as a true horror title, even though it does tinker with an assortment of weapons used to bring down the devilish fiends. Remove many of the lackluster mechanics in Mundaun, and you’ll still be left with a deep and winding playthrough that will possess you with its weirdness and unnerving imagery from beginning to end. It’s a horror storybook come to life through an uneasy and evocative atmosphere that weaves a surprisingly good tale laced with mystery and intrigue.
What’s important to note is that, despite its shortcomings, Mundaun is absolutely a game worth playing. You may not get the same entertaining gameplay as, say, a Resident Evil title, but you will enjoy a story that plays well into the horror genre.
Coupled with its fascinating visuals, Hidden Fields’ breakout title does enough right that it’s a game that can be easily recommended. Even though you won’t be raving about the combat or puzzles anytime soon, you will experience a unique horror title that breaks up the monotony of rinse-and-repeat releases.
If there is one thing Mundaun is, it’s an original, new concept that uses a scarcely-used art style to bring to life a folk horror game that will stick with you for quite a while.
With what it may learn from its first foray into horror, developer Hidden Fields can easily piece together a new IP that’s twice as terrifying without all of the pitfalls that hindered the end product.
To learn more about Mundaun visit the game’s official website https://www.mundaungame.com.
Mundaun is now available on PlayStation, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One and PC for $19.99 USD (£15.49, 16,79€, CHF 19.50).
Developer: Hidden Fields
Publishers: MWM Interactive, Madison Wells Media, LLC
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