Monday, 27 August 2018

Eldritch (2013) Quick Review - In the Randomly Generated Mountains of Madness

Note: This review is part of my reviews which I publish directly onto my Facebook Page, and are intended to be quick-fire projects.

Here's a fun little roguelike 1st person horror game that was released for PC a few years ago - Eldritch.

Inspired by the works of H.P. Lovecraft (because of course it fucking is), Eldritch focuses on an unidentified Johnny trapped in a mysterious library. You must travel to a handful of worlds confined within ancient tomes to find artefacts to help you escape. Encountering, of course, all manner of nightmarish abominations from deranged cultists to savage Deep Ones, slimy Star Spawn of Cthulhu, and almighty Shoggoths.

True to the texts which inspired it, it's hard as balls. The levels, ranging from frozen wastelands to Egyptian-esque temples, rotting asylums, and underwater tombs, are maze-like, dark, and confusing. In Metroidvanian fashion there's a fair amount of backtracking, as you collect keys to tackle locked doors and gear to handle monsters. There are also plenty of traps like spikes, poison gas, and pitfalls to contend with: Lovecraftian Gods seemingly thinking that HASAWA is the name of a rival deity.

Enemies roam freely and - in the early portions of the game at least - you need to avoid them as you have the defensive capabilities of a millennial being trolled on Twitter. As you progress and explore more, you'll become armed with weapons such as daggers, dynamite, guns, and psionic powers granted from the Great Old Ones at their altars. But not for free, human worm.

Overall, Eldritch is a enjoyable experience that's fairly light and geared towards quick bursts. The roguelike randomised nature certainly helps encourage replayability. Unlike a lot of roguelikes, Eldritch does have an ultimate goal and even several endings depending on your performance. All horrible of course.

For a game created by just one guy, Eldritch is a fantastic traversal through the horrors of Lovecraft. The only thing which really gets in the way of the creepy soundtrack and tense gameplay is the charming Minecraft style graphics. But seeing cutesy Lovecraftian abominations is unique, and the game is indie so that's that really. Not that Lovecraft could talk: he thought Non-Euclidean geometry was scary. You know, shapes such as THE FUCKING EARTH.

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