Lovecraftian horror is an extremely popular form of horror, but I never get sick of seeing it pop up. There’s something so primal about unspeakable horrors—especially those that can make you insane by merely catching glimpse of such a monstrosity. Source of Madness takes Lovecraftian themes and stretches them over a frame of an action rogue-lite—sounds good to me.
Source of Madness is a side scrolling action rogue-lite where you play as a new acolyte, forced to survive in a world full of terrible monstrosities. I can say that Source of Madness probably comes closest to representing Lovecraftian creatures specifically for the reason that they’re mostly inexplicably shaped monstrosities all meat and appendages. Movement in Source of Madness is strange, with characters looking like Gothic versions of the Monty Python animated segments. You and creatures look like cardboard cut-outs, but for monsters it’s effective in making them look truly nightmarish.
Combat in Source of Madness can probably be best described as twin-stick. You can jump and dash to fight the various monsters you’ll encounter. As you play, you’ll find loot to upgrade your acolyte. Weapons come in the form of different rings which yield different powers that serve as projectiles that will rip at your enemy’s flesh, or even cut off their masses of flailing limbs. Death is the end of your character, and you lose your items—however, between runs you can spend currency on upgrades that will persist between hapless acolytes.
Source of Madness is releasing into Early Access, but that means it’s still in development. According to the info box on their Steam story page, Source of Madness should be in Early Access for about six months, or longer if necessary. Developer Carry Castle is planning on adding at least two more Story Acts and five more biomes as well as more classes, and more spells. Currently, Source of Madness is fun to play, though its controls can be described as “wobbly” or even like playing with cardboard cut-outs. I’d love to see the controls tightened up significantly before release.
I have mixed opinions on Source of Madness so far. I’m hoping that development will tighten up its combat a bit. Also, despite being absolutely in love with its tone and theme, I’m not super keen on the character models. Even the monsters are a little much, and sometimes I don’t even know if what I’m attacking is a monster until its health bar pops up. Even so, I’m excited to see how Source of Madness turns out.
Source of Madness is available today on Steam Early Access.
A Steam key was provided to us for the purposes of this review.
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