H.P. Lovecraft is having a moment. I would hesitate to call it a resurgence, as I think Lovecraft has always had a pretty giant fan base, but I am definitely hearing more chatter about the works of Lovecraft than ever before.
The hosts at the No Avatars Allowed podcast love delving into complex and nuanced issues. One of the things we talk about on a fairly regular basis is how to separate the art from the artist (if that is possible). H.P. Lovecraft is a great example of someone who had unaccceptable xenophobic beliefs, but whose work still influences multiple forms of media, including video games.
Gibbous - A Cthulhu Adventure is the most recent examples of this. Releasing August 7th by the Translyvanian developer Stuck in Attic, it is a Lovecraftian point and click adventure which focuses on various cults, conspiracy theories, and a talking cat.
We start as a VERY stereotypical private eye, Don R. Ketype (get it?), who is tasked with finding the ancient Necronomicon. Librarian Buzz Kerwan accidently gets sucked in and he and his now talking cat, Kitteh, slowly get more and more embroiled in this dangerous world of cults and creatures.
I will say in full transparency that I have not yet finished the game, but I have played a hefty enough portion of it to be able to effectively write a review for three first half or so. I’m heading out on vacation shortly, but wanted to post this review before I’m gone for two weeks. I promise I will update this review when I get back and have more to say about the second half of this Cthulhu adventure!
I’m a pretty big fan of point and click adventure games. I love that it requires no hand-eye coordination and I am able to use creativity to figure out the next steps. So far, the puzzles in this game have been pretty straightforward. There was only one point that I felt challenged in any way, but once I picked it up the next day with a little distance, I was able to figure it out pretty quickly. This is nice on the one hand, because I do feel accomplished when I work something out. On the other hand...it’s pretty simple to figure these puzzles out, so I am not feeling particularly challenged. I am hoping that as the game continues to go on, the puzzles will increase in difficulty.
This game is pretty Disney-esque, down to the talking cat. It uses both horror and comedy, but neither so much as to bill it as either genre. The comedy is light and very self aware, poking fun at the idea that all of the characters know that they are inside of a video game. The game has yet to be scary - in fact, many of the cult members have come across as bumbling and dumb thus far. I am assuming that as the game goes on and Lovecraftian monsters are introduced, the horror element will be heightened.
The graphics are great - 2D and, again, very Disney. They are crisp and though I experienced couple glitches early on, downgrading the graphics quality helped a lot, and I have had no issues since. And the graphics are still great - I barely noticed a difference!
The other thing that has stood out has been the voice acting. The protagonists run into so many different characters, and each of them have their own unique voice. Now, whether the voice acting is always convincing is another story, but I can absolutely praise the number of unique voices being used to tell the story! Lindsay Peck (who voices MANY animes) plays Kitteh, and there is a brief appearance of Doug Cockle (of The Witcher). So those are two interactions to look forward to!
It is worth mentioning again, that Stuck in Attic is based in Transylvania. Their website claims to have the most “genuine Transylvanian accent in games and media”, which I can neither confirm nor deny, but I DO enjoy the accent. One of the main characters, Buzz, has the accent and it makes such a delightful addition to the experience. Some of the game also takes place in Transylvania, and it is clear how much time and care the developers took to being the outdoor scenes and buildings to life. The Translvanian scenes and overall accent were probably my favorite part of this gaming experience.
This game is available in over 14 languages (and more coming), which is just awesome! This game is obviously lovingly made, and the experience is heightened by feeling that love and care in the characters, scenes, and plot.
Can’t wait to play more when I get back from my trip and provide an update!