Inspired by the
fictional literary world of American writer H.P. Lovecraft,
Miskatonic: The Inhuman Stain is the first chapter in a point &
click episodic adventure series created by independent developer
In this initial outing, we are
introduced to Dr. Aurinda Hearn, the new Associate Professor of Classics
at Miskatonic University, Arkham, Massachusetts – Lovecraft country.
Extraordinary and disturbing occurrences are blighting the University
and its staff. Aurinda hears of urban legends; the dangers of the
surrounding woods and the ferocious wild animals that reportedly inhabit
it. She learns of the mysterious disappearance of members of the
Engineering department on an expedition to the South Pacific the
previous year. Why does the University remain so silent upon the
subject? And who, or what is responsible for disturbing Aurinda's
office, and what could they possibly have been seeking?
Aurinda gradually comes to
realise that a great many mysteries lie within Miskatonic. For better or
for worse, her curious nature pushes her forward in her efforts to find
out more information.
“Miskatonic is a bad place
The Inhuman Stain
is a very promising opening to a series with great potential. I had not
read any of H.P. Lovecraft's works prior to playing this game. As a
result, I likely remained unaware of a great many nods and nuances that
would have a Lovecraftian grinning in delight. That said, my ignorance
did not affect my enjoyment of all that Miskatonic had to offer; and
enjoy it I most certainly did.
The graphics are beautifully
detailed, colourful and atmospheric, with some fluidity of environment:
small flocks of birds flying overhead, falling leaves, gently rippling
water. There are a number of attractive locations: the Pentangle
courtyard, the Lake Green and the Deanery, to name but a few. Character
movement is a little awkward in some instances, perhaps, with our
protagonist in possession of an odd, dislocated gait. We meet oddball
characters who, if not intentionally endearing, are intriguing and – an
important factor for this gamer – well voiced. The Inhuman Stain
draws the player in, concluding on a tantalising yet satisfying note
with questions still to be answered across future chapters.
Gameplay is in third person,
with a simple point & click interface. The game menu is accessible via
the Esc key; there are full subtitles and ample save slots available.
Dialogue can be fast-clicked through, and double clicking on a
directional arrow fast-tracks the gamer to a new area. There is also a
useful map with jump-spots.
The game installed and ran
without any issues.
The Inhuman Stain,
as an episodic adventure, offers a considerable amount of playing time
if no referral is made to a walkthrough.
“The guidebook says...”
Plenty of puzzling ahoy in
The Inhuman Stain, and of varying degrees of difficulty. A great
many are of the inventory type, with one dialogue based, and there is
one pleasing logic puzzle. A complex tile puzzle is featured, with an
invaluable help mode if required. Left-clicking on Aurinda at any point
will nudge the player as to where they might best focus their attention.
The trickiest brain bender is
saved for the episode's conclusion, with the programming of the Orrery's
“Stay out of the woods!”
A minor blot on the frownside:
it might have been useful if certain game documents remained onscreen
while a puzzle was in the process of being solved. A deal of switching
back and forth between puzzle and inventory was necessary at several
stages in the game.
Overall, an engaging and
enjoyable rattle through the halls and surrounds of Miskatonic
University. I, for one, am rather looking forward to seeing this
I played on:
Windows 7 Home Premium SP1
AMD A6-3650 APU @ 2.60GHz
4.00 GB of RAM
Radeon HD 6530D Graphics
Miskatonic Part 1: The Inhuman Stain
is available via download from the
GameBoomers Review Guidelines