by June 1, 2022 @ 9:45 am
Reviewed on Xbox Series S
Source of Madness is the type of game that you don’t shrug off immediately. Though it is definitely flawed and lacks the polish that roguelites need to succeed, there’s still plenty here that might make it interesting enough for fans of the genre. This is true in terms of both the game’s dark, Lovecraftian presentation and the fun systems it has in place for you to learn.
A Land of Horrors
In Source of Madness, you explore the Loam Lands. This is a world ravaged by death, destruction, and devilish monsters. You’ll walk through twisted wastelands. You’ll encounter massive creatures covered in tentacles and gore. You’ll even discover some friendly characters.
Aesthetically, Source of Madness is okay, though it by no means raises the bar in terms of aesthetics. Developer Carry Castle set out to create a world inspired by H. P. Lovecraft and, for the most part, succeeded in doing so. As you walk through procedurally generated ghost towns, caves, and dungeons, you can’t help but feel uneasy due to the desolate look of it all, as well as the fact that there are monsters at every turn. The game doesn’t necessarily look great, but it looks effective.
Probably Worthwhile for Roguelite Fans
The gameplay of Source of Madness is a cross between hack-and-slash, shoot ‘em up, and RPG. Everything here is randomized, including rings and charms used to perform attacks. You can slash away at creatures or shoot fireballs (or other projectiles at them).
Enemies will just sort of keep charging at you even as you inflict damage. This prompts you to just keep moving around the screen, unleashing attacks of your own as you try to avoid getting hit. Oddly, this gameplay element reminded me a lot of Serious Sam due to the similar just-keep-running-and-attacking design.
The combat can get a little stale at times, especially since roguelites are all about keeping things interesting across multiple runs. That high level of interest just isn’t piqued here, unfortunately. Sure, Source of Madness can be fun in short bursts, but the longer you play, the more taxing the whole thing becomes, and this is due in large part to the game’s janky character animations and unpolished controls.
You’ll get the chance to purchase different classes and upgrades as you play, collecting currency that carries over across your playthroughs. This adds a nice layer to Source of Madness, and being able to add upgrades to the pool of randomized buffs and abilities that appear in your runs is pretty sweet. Again, this all depends on whether you’re enjoying the game to begin with.
It’s not that Source of Madness is a bad game, because it’s really not. But with so many remarkable roguelites such as the fairly recent Loop Hero, the iconic Dead Cells, and even more low-key stuff like Crown Trick, it’s hard to recommend this particular title to anyone other than those who’ve already played ‘em all and just want to see everything else in the genre.
Score: 5 out of 10
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