You get a call that could change your destiny... will you take it?
What will you risk to figure out the mysteries lying behind?
From the creators of Darkness Within, Stormling Studios, comes a new terrifying psychological horror game, known as Lunacy: Saint Rhodes. Published by Iceberg Interactive, the game offers a unique perspective as what unfolds after an unexpected call. Here we follow up closely on our playable character, George, who receives a strange call about inheriting an old house. The only catch? He must travel to the place, Saint Rhodes to check it out at once.
Imagine arriving in the middle of nowhere at night to meet with a mysterious person who just said you had been given a house? Sounds a tad suspicious and like most horror stories, turns out to actually be... When George arrives to town, he soon discovers that the whole place seems abandoned but there's an eerie feeling lingering in the thick air that he can't seem to shake. Finding himself alone, he's left to explore the whole place and discover the mystery of not only the town but the house he has been given.
When it comes to gameplay, Lunacy does some great things yet misses on others. The game is viewed as first person which offers some interesting mechanics that I hadn't seen previously in any other game. For example, George wears glasses that can get foggy, dirty and even blurry from rain, this means the player must constantly be cleaning the glasses if they want a good view of what's going on around them. Another thing that I really loved was that when you pause the game, it will tell you how many notes, collectables and secrets statues you had found. These could be important if you care about the story and the lore behind what's happening, and if you want to unlock those sweet achievements for finding them all. Something I didn't really like but got accustomed to was having the hand holding the flashlight always on screen.
Going into the core of the gameplay, the game follows the line of being psychological, although I wouldn't personally call it horror but more of a thriller. During the time exploring the town and the abandoned places around it, you will encounter puzzles, some more obvious than others and from time to time, you will also run into some interesting figures, that may... or may not, have the intent of killing you. To this we add some sort of what appears to be portals into another, more hellish dimension (remember Silent Hill?) and stones that are meant to protect you from whatever you may encounter on your adventure, if you use them accordingly.
There is some stealth involved as some entities would immediately terminate you if you make too much noise but if it can be manageable and it's not overbearing like having to hide every 5 seconds. Something that actually surprised me about the gameplay was that, to a degree, there is some combat involved. You must defend yourself from entities and there is also a fight with the mighty, final boss.
While the game isn't long and can be actually finished in 3 hours, there is no rush as there is no achievement for finishing it quickly, which makes exploration all the more interesting. As you unlock new places around town, you will be moving back and forth in order to progress. Also, if you're interested in finding every single collectable, you'll have to search since some of them are really well hidden.
Pros and Cons
1. Superb graphics. I honestly wasn't expecting much visually from the game. It was a pleasant surprise when I saw just how clear and precise everything looked. No details were missed which made the experience worth it.
2. Incredible sounds. The sounds were also perfect. If you'd use headphones, you could hear the droplets from the rain falling around you and when events happened, like an entity appearing, you could know in what direction it was.
3. Multiple endings. I'm glad the game offered players a choice, even if there are only 2 endings (that I know of), whichever the player chooses, they're in for a weird treat.
4. Short and sweet. While other things could certainly be explored in depth, the game focuses on a particular aspect and once that is resolved, that's it, the end.
1. Blurred objectives. Sometimes progression wasn't clear and you wouldn't get objectives as to what to do next which meant searching closely for any remotely missed opportunity.
2. No mini-map. Even though it really wasn't a necessity, it would have been lovely to have a mini-map of the place you where in, especially during chase scenes and around the infinite loop that was the abandoned home.
3. Story? Don't get me wrong, there is a story but when you've experienced horror for as long as I have, you begin to see some patterns and while the game tried to move away from it, if you were paying close attention, it was almost a predictable ending.
4. Missing horror factor. Sure the environment was eerie and sure the entities can make you tense when they decide it's time for you to die but I wouldn't say the experience was essentially horror. There were a lot of missed opportunities for jumpscares, random spooks and just gory, sinister views.
(On a scale of 1-5, being 5 the absolute best)
What can I say? While the game didn't have a complex story or theatrical horror elements, it was actually a fun and different experience to have. As I mentioned previously, I went into the game completely blind, not knowing what to expect out of it and I'm actually glad I gave it a try. I'll try my best to explain as much possible without actually giving any spoilers or ruining the plot. As soon as George arrives in St. Rhodes a lot of things happen and while in the beginning the game is a bit slow, the pace quickly catches up with you when you begin unlocking and discovering things.
There were moments when I actually felt lost because I had no given objective and the thing that would help me progress was something I wouldn't have thought of, which I think was kind of brilliant, to be honest. But the gameplay felt too common, too generic for my taste and just made me think about all the other games who'd employ similar stories, tactics, enemies, etc. I understand however that in this day and age coming up with a completely new concept, especially in horror, can be really hard since all has been said, written, and coded somewhere already. I still applaud the way the developers moved away from what was somewhat expected and gave the game another view at how the story would evolve.
The use of different mechanics in the game seemed genius to me and made the gameplay interesting. Sure you had the spooky town and the entities, but you also had a way to defend yourself, to fight back or to just stealth. Also, as you go further into the game and explore the house, you discover some rather interesting places and even enter some sort of subliminal space filled with memories from the past, which I must admit was my favorite part of the whole game for some odd reason.
The combat/fights weren't also traditional. You'd shoo away entities by blasting them with light, which would temporarily freeze them but also make them angrier. The final boss was interesting but again, non traditional. If you go in expecting to fight with a weapon, you'll clearly be losing your time because here, the weapon is basically you... and the stones you find along the way that I already mentioned.
So... would I recommend it? If you have no problems with a story that seems like something you might have heard previously and don't mind not getting terrified... then yes, give Lunacy: Saint Rhodes a try for sure. The game does possess some interesting aspects and can be worth your while. Just remember that it's also a short experience with two interesting endings.
Game is now available on:
For more information about it, click here.