June 21, 2019 by Paul Curtin
The publishers at Funcom, who are known mostly for their online multiplayer games such as Conan Exiles, The Secret World, and Anarchy Online, are scaling things down this year with their upcoming cosmic horror game, Moons of Madness.
While set in the same universe as their MMORPG, The Secret World, as teased in the first trailer, Moons of Madness is a sci-fi/Lovecraftian-themed singleplayer-only horror adventure from a completely new dev team.
You’ll play as Shane Newehart, Chief Engineer on a top-secret mission to colonize Mars. There isn’t much story given to you at the start and it’s up to the player to explore the creepy dark Mars space station by himself and examine every little clue to get a better understanding of what exactly is going on.
In our hands-on time, it became clear after reading emails, NDAs, and other items that the mission you’re on is funded by the Orochi Group (a corporate conglomerate that players from TSW already know all too well) and that even NASA is unaware of what you’ve been doing on Mars for the past eight months.
Gameplay in MoM focuses mainly on exploration and puzzle-solving similar to other great sci-fi/horror IPs such as Alien: Isolation, Prey, and Dead Space. But from our 30-minutes playing the beginning of the game, we found that MoM had far less action than all three with a much slower pace that sets a more chilling horror tone.
Other than the few jump scares that the game hit us with early on, what really makes MoM such a great psychological horror experience is the high level of detail in the level design. As with any good survival horror game, other than some white noise from the station’s cooling systems, the sound of the character breathing is about all you’ll hear most times. Creates an eerie silence that slowly builds a sense of dread the longer you go without something popping out at you.
The space station’s lighting (or lack thereof) also played a pivotal role in keeping us on the edge of our seats. Many rooms have lost power and while trying to turn the lights back on you’ll often catch shadows that’ll make you question if what you saw was more than a shadow or just your imagination – based on the name of the game and the trailer, we’re sure things will only get crazier as progressing further through the game.
Moons of Madness is set for release just in time for Halloween this October 2019 for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.