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Moons of Madness

A mysterious signal has been recorded coming from the red planet. The message confounded Orochi scientists. Their analysts broke it down and determined it was of intelligent origin. Orochi management immediately concluded that the discovery was too sensitive for public knowledge and moved to keep it hidden. In secret, the corporation began construction of Trailblazer Alpha, a state-of-the-art Mars research outpost designed to identify the true nature of the message. You are Shane Newehart, an engineer stationed at Trailblazer Alpha and your security clearance means you are completely unaware of the existence of the mysterious signal. Your job is simply to keep the lights on until the transport ship Cyrano arrives bringing with it a new team to take over your duties. Soon you discover strange and unusual setbacks. Crucial systems are malfunctioning, the greenhouse is filled with a strange mist and the rest of your team has yet to return from their EVA mission. Things are starting to fall apart. You begin seeing and hearing things that aren’t there. Visions, hallucinations – or is that even what it is? Is this real… or are you slowly descending into madness?
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Game Discussion

Review by Anonymous
Review from Steam

Moons of Madness
Tides of the Elder Gods
Review
Once again Funcom expands its online MMO's lore - the formerly known The Secret World but re-purposed as Secret World Legends in 2017 - with a new interactive narrative experience in Moons of Madness which acts in exactly the same way as Funcom's previous effort, The Park. What that means is you are getting a heavily story-based experience with some light puzzle solving as opposed to one that includes combat and an overdose of action.
Moons of Madness wears its Lovecraftian inspiration with pride as you take on the role of an engineer sent by the shady Orochi Group of Secret World Legends to assist other scientists carry out their research on Mars. The games first hour or two, as you are introduced to the base station and the various maintenance tasks you need to carry out as part of your engineer profile are sublime. Even though most of the tasks are menial, there is a definite sense of dread you can feel building on the periphery because from the moment you arrive at the research base things start to go wrong as critical machinery continuously breaks down. One evening, after a particularly harrowing dream, your engineer awakens to find the station in the throes of a cosmic horror invasion.
As the player you will soon realise that it's no coincidence your engineer has found himself at this particular station as the games convoluted plot goes into overdrive. This is where narratively things start to get a bit messy. A lot of what is really going on is hidden away in text documents or emails that you can access from various terminals. Players will be required to read the lot of them and put most of the story into a logical sequence themselves. There are the occasional cutscenes and dialog sequences between characters to help you along, but a lot of them will remain stubbornly obtuse without the player piecing together the backstory, so pay attention to what it is your are reading else the final few hours of the game could end up making very little sense at all.
While Moons of Madness contains some great scares, particularly the sequence where you are being chased through the vents by a ghastly tentacled monster, this in itself becomes somewhat problematic. While there aren't a great deal of these encounters, as the game will mostly herd you away from imminent danger, the ones that are there feel like a missed opportunity to really ratchet up the tension because most of these sequences are horribly sign-posted in terms of what your engineer needs to do in order to survive them. This may lead to some of these sections becoming more frustrating than they need be, often requiring the player to play through them again because they died. There is no greater mood kill in a horror game than repetition so a few of these scary sequences end up becoming somewhat diminished. The game also suffers from some poor pacing at various junctures which I imagine will lead to quite a few gamer's tumbling out of the adventure citing boredom.

None of Moons of Madness puzzle solving is particularly challenging as most of the time you will either be required to access various consoles, calibrate and re-calibrate panels, bypass broken circuitry or spend your time tuning into radio frequencies. For the most part the puzzles are fine and the solution is never far out of grasp. There are two vastly different endings you can attain but due to the linearity of the game you may want to ensure you save near the end and experience both in one playthrough rather than play through the entire 9-10 hour adventure again just to see the second ending.
While Moons of Madness opens strongly, it simply can't hold that promise of initial dread due to some really poor pacing that constantly feels like padding, some really lacklustre voice acting, particularly that of the engineer who throughout the adventure sounds as if he is about to fall asleep on his two feet. The games plot is messy and far too convoluted with so many red herrings and plot devices introduced and then abandoned leaving the gamer with many unanswered questions by the time the credit sequence rolls around. While the game looks great graphically, with some of the later game environments being quite startling, it can also be a chore to play through. It's this uneven approach that eventually gets the better of this horror/sci-fi adventure. If you are a fan of all things Lovecraftian then I would say give it a try, but for most of you, you are all better off picking this one up when discounted.
One word or phrase to sum up the experience
Uneven
Performance/Bug related incidents
Nothing
Similar to games
The Park, Deliver the Moon, Conarium
Rating ★★★★★☆☆☆☆☆

Review from Steam

All good, no bad. Just adding my +1.
+Graphics were very good.
+Sound/Audio/Music was excellent!
+Story was new (at least to me) and interesting. Made me think.
+All achievements work properly.
It was one of the few games were I found myself snapping screenshots all over the place. I highly recommend it for anyone who is into Lovecraftian lore. It's got a couple of very minor jump scares. It's not that scary but the environments do create tense situations.

Review from Steam

This game started off really strong, I was hooked and engaged with the setting and the way it was using Lovecraftian themes and imagery.
Unfortunately it really felt like it lost the plot by the end. The game itself could not sustain my interest in its narrative to the very end.
There's not much to the gameplay and while it does have two endings, they don't differ enough to warrant replaying it.
I will recommend it, but only on one condition, do you enjoy Locecraftian horror and narratives? You'll probably not end up regretting this purchase.
For everyone else, honestly I'd say pass, it's just not polished enough and the narrative on its own not good enough to make this a recommend for anyone who's not already hungry for more Lovecraft.

Review from Steam

This game is pretty fun and the Lovecraftian inspiration coupled with it being on Mars is a nice touch. Not a lot of jumpscares which is nice but a nice feeling of dread to what horrors lie ahead works very well!
Being able to disable the headbob is also much appreciated.
I enjoyed reading all the notes and computers logs I could get my hands on as they only served to better understand what was happening.
I strongly recommend this game if you're in Lovecraft stuff!

Review from Steam

Alright, let me get this out of the way... it's a short game, I beat it in under 6 hours, and that's with a few deaths and reloading checkpoints. Now, currently it's sitting in the Steam Store for $35 (CAD) which I don't feel is quite worth it, but if you can get it on sale, or if you got it for free as part of their promotion with Cyrano Story, then it's definitely worth it!
I had a blast playing this game! It is mostly an exploratory game with several puzzles, some stealth, but also has a lot of horror elements, frightening moments with jump scares, and even chase sequences. The puzzles aren't too difficult, and the atmosphere keeps you on your toes so there really are no boring moments.
The look and feel of the game is kind of similar to SOMA or Alien: Isolation. There was definitely some inspiration taken from those games, but also has its own unique elements.
If you're into achievements as I am, there are 23 easy ones to get completion with. One is missable, and has to do with stepping into an electric puddle and dying . The rest are story-based, with the exception of two different endings. If you reload the last checkpoint after finishing the game, just choose the other option and you'll have both. There, easy, perfection!
What more can I say? It's a fun game, it's short, not quite worth the full price, but get it when it goes on sale and you'll have a great experience!

Review from Steam

Bought this game reduced for 10 bucks. And you shouldn't pay more.
The mix of lovecraftian lore with corporate reach for power in a sci-fi setting is nice in some way, but every part of it feels not strong or intense enough.
The graphics are good and the story is presented in a good way. Also there are nice elements like oxygen need. But the immersion ist broken, when you only can run out of it when just waiting ... and not in the story. There it jumps up at checkpoints, so dying on accident this way isn't really possible. It is also weird, to have the oxygen scale in your helmet, together with some other sensors, that didn't work ... like the heartbeat ... in a horror game.

Review from Steam

After playing through this game in one sitting in my stream, I have to say, that at the end all I thought was "Epic!". This game takes you on an amazing journey with lots of unexpected twists and turns, telling a story of horror, mystery, personal struggles, isolation and conspiracy. Very well done and gave me lots to keep thinking about.
The puzzle elements are interesting, but not too hard and don't get in the way of neither the horror nor the story. The only thing that bothered me was that the early documents and texts you can find are so scientific and dry that they incited me to skip through them, maybe missing some interesting details, however fitting perfectly in the Mars colonization theme.
Thank you for taking us on this exciting journey!