Mare: Episode 1
psychological horror adventure game from the creators of the successful
Decay series. Sam has ended up in an institution named "Reaching Dreams"
to get rid of his drug addiction and his miserable life. But during the
first night, something happens and he gets stuck in a nightmare that
never seems to end ...Ē
So says the
I am not
familiar with the original, so canít say whether it warranted a sequel.
However on the strength of Episode 1, it didnít warrant this.
simply, its dull. Not scary, not psychological, not horrific, not a
nightmare by any stretch of the imagination.
very few puzzles, and you are primarily occupied with navigating a
series of doors and rooms in the institution to get, well, to the end of
the episode. A sequence in the middle is a maze by any other name,
always in my view a lazy option for puzzling. Certainly there is a clue
which renders it impotent, but itís still a maze.
graphics probably suit the asylum setting, but donít give life to the
events. They didnít convey a demented or tormented environment, or a
place that you really didnít want to be.
There is no
dialogue to speak of, primarily because there is nobody to talk to. And
the talking bag (enough said the better) doesnít count.
limited items to interact with in each screen, so play time is not
extensive. You find and can combine a small number of items to assist
your progress. If you want to, you can find a limited number of coins
(why isnít clear apart from being a treasure hunt).
which feature a number of still photographic images punctuate almost
every entry through a door, and almost all screens are static, with
little motion or movement present. To be fair, it is an apparently
lifeless institution, and inanimate objects are just that, but it adds
to the ďnothing happeningĒ feel, and limited cutscenes donít
I will play
the other episodes, but it will need to pick up markedly to warrant your
Decay: The Mare: Episode 2
episode was much better. Better puzzles, better atmosphere, better
everything really. I even got a fright or two.
to me this is really one game broken into bits, rather than being an
episodic game which can stand on its own piece by piece. Not a lot do,
and all of them are better when consumed as a whole, but if you are
going to have episodes they have to be satisfying in themselves, or at
least be intriguing enough to make you want to see what comes next.
a solitary environment, apart from the odd headless body and apparition.
The talking bag I still donít count.
spartan environment, still confined to a dilapidated building. There
are a small number of items to find, including coins about which I am
still no clearer on their purpose.
locked doors and boxes to get through and into, and some of the puzzles
are rather good. A camera added a little something. If you get stuck,
the hint system will help. Generally it will get you to a location and
tell you ďto explore this room moreĒ.
more enthusiastic about episode 3.
Decay: The Mare: Episode 3
So here we
are at the end.
episode was much more in keeping with episode 2, and as such, and given
what I said about playing as a whole, I will likely go back and play it
right through, to see how that effects what I thought of episode 1.
where we left off, but with an empty inventory. We are still inside the
building, but you may be out by the end. That will depend on a choice
you make, triggering either the so called ďbadĒ ending or the ďgoodĒ
one. You may also be aware of what in fact went on, and what you are
itís about getting through the building and solving a few puzzles along
the way. They werenít as good this time, but still not too shabby. One
seemed only doable by trial and error, and another wasnít really a
puzzle if you spotted the answer. The hint system continued to provide
sufficient guidance if required.
four balls this time (and used them), and it was four nails last time. I
also found coins, not all of them, but I did find out what they were
for. If you find them all, you can unlock extras for the episode from
the menu screen. Some googling revealed this was concept art in episode
1. I didnít google further so canít tell you what it is for the others.
Achievements popped up as they do in many Steam games now (not sure what
it adds really) and I failed to unlock two of them. Clearly you donít
need to accomplish them all to finish.
some conversations in this episode, all via subtitle, including with
some real people. The talking bag made another appearance also.
In the end it was a lot better
than I thought it would be, but overall it was still a middling
experience. The interface was too fussy; one example being that clicking
on an item you could pick up resulted in a question asking did you want
to pick it up or not, and as far as I can remember I picked it all up
and used the lot so it seems a bit pointless. There were also other
circumstances in which you had to engage in extra clicks for no reason
other than the game required it. The graphics were similarly middle of
When I play it through as a
whole, I will let you know if it made a different impression.
Grade: C (full game)
I played on:
OS: Windows 7
Processor: Intel i7-3820 4GHz
RAM: 12GB Ripjaw DDR3 2133 Mhz
Video card: AMD Radeon HD 7800 2048MB
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