By Diana "DumeeGamer" Dumee on June 6, 2017
Have you ever read a book by H.P. Lovecraft? He wrote a couple of well known horror-scifi stories like the Call of Cthulhu and At the Mountains of Madness, the latter of which was just the inspiration for the people of Zoetrope Interactive needed for their upcoming game, Conarium. I say inspiration, because although Conarium is loosely based upon the works of Mr. Lovecraft, it is mostly an original story. And guess what; we were among the lucky bastards who got to play the demo of this game!
In Conarium, you take the role of Frank Gilman. You wake up and you can recall you're in an Upuaut, an Antarctic base located near the South Pole. The place is completely devoid of life, but then someone contacted you through a handheld receiver and urges you to use one of the expedition submarines to follow them through the bowels of the Earth. That's were our adventure starts.
We all live in a yellow submarine, a yellow submarine,.. Oh, I'm sorry. I let myself get carried away for a bit there. First of all, the Beatles have nothing to do with this game and second, this submarine is not yellow. I think I started to sing, because it helps me calm my nerves. Because the world that I see around me outside of the porthole is. well, let's just say it sets my nerves on edge. It's too quiet, it's too dark, it's nerve wrecking. I make my way through dark mysterious plants without really knowing what I'm doing. My submarine will shake, rattle and roll from time to time until, eventually, my submarine gets grabbed by the tentacles of an enormous octopus. Help! Mayday! S.O.S.!
The screen goes black, after which I see a bright rectangle of light. I decided that light is good, so I enter it. All of a sudden, I'm in a hallway of a boat (or another submarine?) There are four doors, but only one will open. Apparently it's the room of a guy named Dr. Faust. When I open the door I'm just in time to see a ghost (Dr. Faust?) disappear. Well, that's comforting! While inspecting the room I find some objects I can take with me and books and reports I can read. One of the readable items is a report about me. Apparently I was undergoing strange events and sometimes spoke to people but not with my own voice? And to complete the mysterious feeling, I see some posters depicting pages of the Voynich Manuscript. For those among you who haven't the faintest clue what this is; it's a mysterious manuscript, found in the fifteenth century, written in a unknown language by an unknown author. Even nowadays no one can decipher it! Nice finishing touch!
There is one box in Dr. Fausts room I can't open. And the other rooms still won't open either. I can however turn back the way I came. I decided to give that a try, and again I end up in a dark environment with only a bright light. Well, it worked for me last time, so I decide to enter it again. Instead of reemerging int the hallway, I'm now inside a cavernous space inside a mountain. Strange plants are growing here and there are several places to explore. There are some challenging puzzles to solve before I can continue my journey. You have a journal in which more and more entries will be added when you read reports and visit points of interest to see memory scenes. That might give you some clues about what is to be your next step. However, most of the time you have to sort things out for yourself. But then again, you're alone and have no clue what to do, so in reality you would have to go about things in a similar matter, right?
After finishing the demo, my results we're shown; I missed out on two secrets and didn't find all there is to find. The useful tip at the bottom was: You could try exploring the caverns more carefully. It's clear that the developers spent a lot of time on hiding items and Easter eggs. I was actually doing my very best to explore every inch of the cavern. So yes, Conarium is a challenging game indeed.
In terms of graphic and sounds Conarium is great. Everything, every detail contributes to the eerie and mysterious setting. There are some minor issues with the controls, but you'll only notice them during some puzzles. And considering this is a demo, My guess is that this will be fixed and fine-tuned by the time of the game's full release.
Conarium is a tribute to the story At the Mountains of Madness by H.P. Lovecraft and I can definitely tell you there is some madness going on at the places I visited during this demo. If you're a fan of scifi-horror, like the stories of H.P. Lovecraft or simply are a sucker for mysterious games that offers more than shooting your way though tons of enemies with your mighty awesome weapon, you'll definitely have to try Conarium!