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Stygian: Reign of the Old Ones

In Stygian: Reign of the Old Ones, the player journeys from a doomed Arkham into the depths of the Abyss. Create your own character based on 1920's archetypes and carve a path through a broken and mysterious world. Your desperate battle against forces beyond comprehension will haunt you until the end. Physical combat will be challenging, spellcasting will have dire consequences, and your sanity will be strained to the breaking point by unknown abominations. Sometimes the best solution will be to flee what lurks beyond the threshold. A hand drawn 2D world reflecting Lovecraft's themes of cosmic horror and dread. Enemies, environments and storylines inspired by Lovecraft’s iconic original works. Take part in quests inspired by your favorite stories and see them play out according to your own decisions and role-playing style. Choose from 8 main character Archetypes, each with its own origin backstory and specialties.
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Game Discussion

Review by Anonymous
Review from Steam

So I've finally beat this game.
What can I say? its one of the weirdest games I have ever experienced in a good if not a bit cringe way...
Going to start with the good.
The biggest highlight this game got going for it in my opinion is by far the atmosphere. It just feels Lovecraftian at hearth. Its misterious, dark, ominous, horrorfying, hopeless, insane and unknown... What makes the atmosphere of the game? The art style, the writing, soundtrack and specially the sound effects. From anything to the footsteps to sounds of the ocean, to the laughs of maniacs, its pretty amazing. Probably the core of what makes the atmosphere of this game so great.
Also yes this is a horror game. But the game doesn't have jumpscares or sequences where you have to run away from a scary monster. But then how can it terrify? I actually found myself feeling scared and uneasy after playing for a feel hours because of the atmosphere of the whole thing. The sounds, the ambiance, the world building, the characters, the mistery of the place where you are, the horrible scenes that happen through out the game, all of this contribute to a slow decent into fear. Of course you got to immerse yourself in for that to work. For me it wasn't hard. The horror aspect of the game is great for the most part.
The narrative/writing is also a strong element of the game. It is really fun going around talking to everyone that you can find to see what they have to say and what your dialog options are. Is not perfect by any means though. It starts off really strong and unfortunally feels very rushed and kinda stupid by the third act.
The game itself is hard to describe, its technically a tatical turn based RPG game with survival elements (crafting, having to sleep and eat food). But it plays more like a point and click movie? or book should I say. I saw someone saying how this game is basically a boardgame brought to life. Anyway the game is really weird and I guess thats the point. Its weirdness contributes to the whole Lovecraftian theme.
The art style is quite unique. Initially I was apprehensive about getting the game because of the graphics. They looked so strange and cringe to me. All characters look like walking sticks and some of the monsters look like they have been drawn by a kid. But thanks to steam refund I thought to myself ''hey why not?'' So I've tried the game to see If I would like it. And what do know? I end up enjoying the art style. It looks hand drawn, and for the most part it looks quite good, very detailed and fits the atmosphere. But is not perfect. Like I said, some things like some enemy types look like a kids drawing! even I could do better!. Also the fact that the game limits itself to this handdrawn graphic style, means that when things need to get more actiony and fancy. It tends to end up looking really lackluster. Its a style that works well with a slowburn atmosphere. But ends underwhelming and too cartoony otherwise.
The combat feels a little out of place in a game like this, but is not bad in my opinion. Its classic turn based tatic RPG combat. But it feels really slow. And the odds for the most part are against you. One interesting aspect about it is the fact that you don't have to kill everything to win in this game. You just have to endure. Just kill enough enemies or survive enough rounds in order to win by having a safe escape. Regular escape will drain your sanity. Safe escapes will count as a win. There's also various tatics you can use. You can choose a meele approach, or stay away under cover with a gun. There are a bunch of items that can be used to buff yourself in combat and also spells.
Probably the thing that I liked the most about the game are all the direct Lovecraft references. If you are a fan, I guarantee that some of them are definitely going to make you smile! I don't want to spoil much. But things like movies being referenced ,whole quests that are basically retellings of classic Lovecraft tales and Lovecraft's WIFE yes his wife looking for him around town are out there in the game and they are really awesome. And what I love the most about these references is that they don't feel out of place and forced. They are actually well integrated withing the story.
Now lets get to the Bad part.....
Well the first thing I got to complaing is that this game gives you the ilusion that you will have a lot of choices to make, and that they will change the outcome of the game. It starts with the character creation. Its quite complex. You can choose your gender. Age of the character, profession, and even belief system. And all of these to some degree do have an impact on your combat stats and dialog options. But ultimately, the outcome is the same. The ending will be same. The quests are going to end up the same. Yes you can come to the end of the quest through diferent paths but overall the game feels linear and boring in this aspect. Your choices don't matter in this game. There aren't multiple endings.
Now lets talk about the game's mechanics. So this game got the ''Dark Souls'' thing going on for it. By this I mean that the game wants you to be in this constant position of utter suffering where you are never under control and the odds are always stacked against you. Thats fine for the most part by me, I like challenge, and considering you are just a human being interacting with a world where horrorfying lovecraftian god-like entities are running around it makes sense. But it can get really annoying with the madness mechanic. So you have a sanity meter. You can refil it by resting, choosing dialog options that regards your belief system, and taking drugs. But no matter what you do, you WILL eventually get mad, and when you get mad, you get negative perks. You can get mad multiple times, which means that the longer you play the more negative perks you will get. As if things in the game aren't already hard enough, now you will have to constantly deal with your crazy character that will panic and choose to not atttack, run away and hit itself. I don't mind losing because the monsters are too strong, or due to poor estrategy. But loosing because my character is acting like bad luck dice rolls is just flat out frustating and stupid.
Also speaking of madness, while the lovecraftian atmosphere is on point for the most part... I do think that the developers tried too hard at times, almost everybody in this game is so mean spirited and foul mouthed. The game's dialog is full of F bombs and vulgar language. It made me think while playing... ''Why Am I trying so hard to keep my sanity meter while everybody in this town is batshit crazy?'' I mean I know that the theme of madness, despair, decay and depression is a big part of what makes lovecraft. But I do feel that the devs went overboard with it at times. It just made it look and sound edgy and cringe. Also by the third act of the game, you will interact with a lovecraftian entity. But the thing is, this entity doesn't look or sound lovecraftian at all. It just looks and feels like some sarcastic, pretentious internet troll trying to well.. just troll you. Nothing creepy or lovecraftian about it at all. And thats a major part of the game, that you are supposed to take it seriously. But I just couldn't it. Broke the atmosphere completely to me. Don't understand what were they thinking by putting that thing into the game.
So I guess the last thing I got to complaing about it, is the fact that this game is too short... ''but its a RPG right? that means there must be a bunch of side quests and things to explore right?'' well unfortunally no. Actually the game's doesn't have side quests, every quest is pretty much part of the progression of the story, and every place you have to explore count in the same way. There are few quests, some of the them don't even get finished. Some characters that have a intringing stories, that you wished you could see the end of it, are just left out.

Review from Steam

If you're a fan of Lovecraft you might enjoy this a fair bit. I certainly did. However, it has a super abrupt ending (Due to being unfinished and scrapped early?), and while it gives an illusion of choice throughout the game it seems rather linear in the follow through.
Unless you really love Lovecraftian stuff to the point where you'll accept an unfinished ending in a game, I would not recommend it. If you are fine with that though, it's a good time.

Review from Steam

Absolutely amazing game. Most lovecraftian game of them all. It's just sheer depression and insanity.
Sadly it was never finished and ends on a cliffhanger. Damn shame but I still recommend this game if you can get it cheap. What is there is really fun. Just know that it's like going to watch Season 1 of some TV show you know got cancelled. Hopefully one day we gonna get a sequel but till then this is it.

Review from Steam

It's mixed bag. I like it so far but it's certainly not quite the Lovecraft RPG I was hoping for. The mood is on point but it feels like a large demo rather than full complete game. I'm sure the team wanted to do some thing grand and robust but I think it should have gone the early access route.
Regardless I think it's worth a play but focus more on the RPG'ing rather than the combat. I can't stress enough how much the combat is both uninteresting and unrewarding. That under rewarding combat can be an obstacle for the otherwise interesting narrative.
I understand that the game is meant to be hard and dark but I didn't enjoy the combat at all. I much prefer the skill checks and conversation elements. Lots of interesting ideas in the game overall. I think this game has a real spark of horror design but just isn't as well done as I'd hope it'd be. It's not a good game to me but it is an interesting game.

Review from Steam

For over 30 years, I have been playing the desktop/pen and paper version of Call of Cthulhu and every video game version of Cthulhu I've played never recreated the same experience for me. Until now. I love the artwork. The character generation. Combat. Sanity loss. "Stygian" makes you feel like your playing the original Call of Cthulhu, almost to the point you can hear the dice rolling and the smell of pencil shavings. The only complaint I have is that the game really avoids spoon feeding the player to the point that the player can get lost easily. If a second "Stygian" game is created, I'd advise a little help should be given to the player. Like a good GM knows there should be a balance of fun and challenge to bring out the best in the experience. Other than that, the game is a strong thumbs up from me.

Review from Steam

Yes I know it ends abruptly but it's still worth playing. Great art style, writing, RPG elements, and a creepy Lovecraft 1920s vibe. I'm really enjoying it.

Review from Steam

The best game, based on Lovecraft stories, yet unfinished.
+ Wonderful art style
+ Intriguing story
+ Nice character progression system
+ Fun turn-based battles
- Quite linear
- Unfinished. I mean you literally can't finish the game and some of the side quests.