A First Look at the demo by flotsam

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Clocking in at about an hour, this is a demo for The Asylum, a game apparently 10 years in the making from those responsible for Scratches.

Its Steam page describes the game as follows:

“With influences ranging from Lovecraft to Peter Cushing to Lucio Fulci, Asylum has been meticulously crafted with a strong focus on storytelling and atmosphere. Explore countless tenebrous environments, find your way throughout a towering, lifelike mental hospital, and solve a surreal mystery that will haunt you for years to come.”

The opening credits do a great job of establishing a Hammer Horror 70's movie feel, and was one of the very few sets of credits I wanted to be there. Usually I find them annoying, preferring to just jump in and start playing. These weren't that at all.

When you get to take control, it's a first person point and click exploration of the Asylum, for reasons you can find out for yourself. There are no voices in the demo, but there will be in the final product, and I don't recall music which is fine by me (but perhaps that is because I turned it right down). The ambient sound, and the very detailed visuals, were more than enough for me.

You move through the environment node to node, and a very lifelike walk will move you to the next one. At each node you have complete visual freedom, being able to look all around and up and down. The scene pivots around a fixed central point as you move the mouse about. Hotspots will enable you to explore that scene more deeply, or perhaps just move through it to the next node. Active icons will indicate something might be looked at or taken, and you will rummage through all sorts of things.

To date there has been minimal puzzling so I can't tell you much. I have had to find a code to a locked filing cabinet, which necessitated finding a particular item and then understanding the clue it gave me. I have examined many documents, made records of some in my journal, and triggered a memory which has also been recorded in my journal. The respective pages suggest there will be lots of these. I have also picked up a variety of items, most of them useless so discarded on the spot.

I have conversed with two other characters, facilitated by a notepad. Click a desired conversation tab on the notepad with your pencil (topics, tasks, people etc.) and then choose what you wish to discuss. Clicking on the items tab is also how you put an inventory item in your hand, which you need to do to use it, although scrolling with the mouse wheel will run through the items you possess.

Tweak some settings and save at will. The game will pick up where you left off. Everything has been appealing so far, and I am looking forward to the game itself.