Miasmata, a creation by brothers, Joe and Bob Johnson, is a survival horror game that has you play as Robert Hughes, a scientist who has been exiled to a forested island. He doesn’t know how he got there and he has a mysterious plague. He wakes up with dried blood on his hands. His task is to figure out the mystery of why he is there, what happened on this island, and collect plants and fungi so he can create a cure, all without dying…from this illness, of course…but also from something evil lurking on this island… watching Robert…waiting for the right moment…
The good: Intriguing storyline, gorgeous scenery.
The bad: The gameplay made me sick.
You see things from Robert’s perspective and lead him around the island, collecting clues to figure out what happened. Time is an avenger here; to that end, you are given a watch to keep track of your time. You get to experience daytime, nightfall, thunderstorms and sunshine. You are also given a compass, and there is a rudimentary map at your disposal, but you are also made to mark it up using landmarks. I never did quite figure this piece out, so I was a bit lost a lot of the time.
Besides finding a cure so you don’t die, you are made to locate water to drink and shelter so you can sleep. There are various abandoned shelters on the island, each with a pitcher of water that you can use to drink from and fill your canteen. Some also have cots to sleep on (doubling as a safe point in the game). Others have microscopes, specimen trays and a distillery to make vaccines. Your health is important in this game. You get dehydrated, you die. You swim too long in the lake, you drown. You fall down a steep hill, you can get a fever and die. This is where cots are important. When things like a fall happen and you find a cot quickly, you can rest up and be ready for your next adventure in no time.
You have access to the entire island, and the scenery is breath-taking. You truly feel like you’ve been dropped somewhere in Algonquin Park.
Except, some aspects of the gameplay itself left a lot to be desired or simply didn’t make any sense. For starters, there was food on the island, but Robert never got hungry for any of it. You are given bananas, access to a knife and rabbits and squirrels nearby, but you don’t kill any of them.
Then Robert finds very shocking dead things and instead of a cut scene associated with them – “ho-hum” – he casually steps over said dead things like roadkill. No reactions, no cut scenes, no writing it down in the journal – nothing! Bizarre!
Miasmata uses a keyboard (SAWD and Esc keys) and mouse to move around. Although the game looks good, I didn’t find the maneuvering was all that smooth. In fact, moving my character forward was stiff, yet if I twitched my mouse just a little, the camera would swirl me around dizzily and I’d lose my orientation (this is with adjustments to sensitivity made in the game settings). As a result of this effect alone I developed a bad headache, coupled with nausea. I am not often prone to motion sickness, but it surfaced this time. Maybe because there was no on-screen cross-hair to look at and follow? I don’t know why, but I felt terrible playing this.
After over two hours of Miasmata, I had to walk away for good, And that’s where the story ends with Miasmata and me.This game has potential, and is probably a great story in the long run. But, I am passing on it for how it made me feel physically.
7/10 (The good bits were good, but lost points for the game mechanics)