Miasmata review

Miasmata review

Aah, aah, aah, aah, stayin' alive.

Games have a habit of distorting language. Take the word “survival”, for instance. Maybe it makes you think of survival horror, a genre that is different from standard horror in only most hair-splitting semantic ways. Perhaps it calls to mind the idea of a survival mode, in which you gun down waves of enemies in the shooter of your choice. Again, you're only really doing what you'd be doing anyway. Survival in games is always on the agenda. In Miasmata, however, survival is the only item on the agenda.

First-person adventure game would be the obvious genre box to shove Miasmata into, but it's an imperfect fit. Certainly it starts with the brusque clarity of an early text adventure. You are Robert Hughes, a scientist infected with the very same deadly disease you've been working to cure. Returning to the remote island where your colleagues are working, you discover the outpost abandoned, the researchers missing or dead.

From this starting point, everything else is up to you, even though every decision you make will be informed by the infection that is slowly killing you. Your movement is slow and uncertain. You lack the strength to swim for long distances and dropping more than a few feet onto solid rock is a good way to crack your skull. You'll stagger when walking over loose rocks or uneven terrain, and in your delirium you'll sway and stumble forwards rather than stopping with the precision of an arcade avatar.

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