Horror games have changed quite a bit since the ominous storytelling of Silent Hill or rigid gunplay mechanics of the original Resident Evil. To counter many of the action-oriented titles indie games have taken up the cause of delivering a more realistic horror experience. Slow drama that builds into some sort of major traumatic psychological event or plot twist. Montague's Mount is another indie step into the world of horror, a riddle that slowly unfolds as the player progresses further into whatever nightmare the main character must navigate.
In Montague's Mount you play as the survivor of a shipwreck who has lost his memory, stranded on an island once clearly inhabited. The basic elements of any horror-mystery are present in full force, but what makes the game so interesting is the delivery. The island players find themselves stranded seems entirely abandoned, but signs of recent life are more than abundant just a few steps away.
Bodies lay strewn about, recently deceased whom reveal no obvious sign of death. There are some hints that what occurred was no simple passing but none of it makes any real sense. Shallow graves are dug in the earth while power on the island still provides light upon those who died. Some together within a trench, others laid upon the rocks or sandy shore, and more still passed away on railings or in more casual positions. The island isn't simply uninhabited, it died; and whatever claimed so many lives remains to be a mystery.
Montague's Mount is beautifully driven by the atmosphere, an environment that harkens back to the era of Myst while blending some incredibly haunting audio. Another key feature of the game is the language, Gaeilge, which is featured in most of the writing in game to help provide a more realistic grounding within the setting.
There's a lot to explore within the human mind, particularly when confronting themes like isolation and fear, and when a game chooses to pursue narrative over gameplay mechanics the risks are undoubtedly high. Where PolyPusher Studios may run into trouble is maintaining the momentum, ensuring that the mystery never grows old while constantly spurring players to push onward into the darkness. It's a tall order, but from the short portion of the game we were able to enjoy it's entirely possible.
Montague's Mount goes for sale on October 9th, but those interested should also be sure to check out the Steam Greenlight available on the link here.