Miskatonic Part 1: The Inhuman Stain


Genre:   Adventure

Developer & Publisher:   Jackslawed 

Released:  December 2011

PC Requirements:   Miskatonic runs on Windows XP, Vista and 7. It requires a minimum resolution of 1024 by 768 pixels. Performance is dependent on settings, but it is recommended that you have at least 1GB of RAM and 500MB free hard drive space.



by Rushes


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 Jackslawed.

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 for curiosity.”

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 spectacular astrolabe.

“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 storyline evolve.

Grade:  B+

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 Miskatonic website.


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