Miasmata is a minimalistic survival game where you play the researcher Robert Hughes. You’re cast away on an island, suffering from some kind of plague, and your aim is to find a cure as soon as possible. Luckily, there has already been some kind of a research team on the island but something has happened to them…
I will start by saying that Miasmata is terribly beautiful. The graphics isn’t always perfect but all in all the environments are amazing. I am incredibly impressed by the two brothers who made this game and the game engine on which it runs. Miasmata is immersive; My first night playing I couldn’t stop until four in the morning, when I reluctantly realized it was getting light outside.
To find a cure for your plague you have to find and research the plants and fungi on the island. It sounds trivial, but in Miasmata there is noone to hold your hand. You have to make progress using the notebooks you find from the earlier research team and on your own findings. The game is completely open world and you have no checkpoints or route to follow.
There is also no automatic map. Instead, you draw your map using triangulation. Two known landmarks give you your position on the map and is what you use to update your map. Other than that you have to use your compass and your memory. (Orienteerers probably have an advantage!)
You have no classic menus or inventory, instead you check your log book where all your notes and research is saved. You can also check on how you are feeling and take drugs for fever or other conditions.
These three elements: Open world, the map system, and the log book creates a massively immersive feeling. Every menu, note or inventory has a “real” representation in the game.
Other than that Miasmata is a creepy game which gave me some big adrenaline rushes. Instead of jumpscares, Miasmata provides the unnerving feeling of always being followed (and the panic of being discovered). Nature is also an enemy: Climbing mountains isn’t easy and if you run too fast down a slope you will fall. Hopefully you know where you are when you are back in control, but in worst case you are lost and have to start looking for known landmarks again.
On the negative side: I have to admit I was on several occations frustrated and annoyed when my assiduous exploration was interrupted. (By what, I will not mention…) I actually even rage quitted several times (but only to start it again after a minutes). At the same time, this is part of what is charming with the game and what creates intensity.
There are also some small bugs, but nothing that can’t be easily solved.
A final warning to those who want to be able to close down a game quickly: You can save only at given save points. They are many and spread widely, but it can be good to know if you are the kind of gamer that have to be able to close down with just some seconds notice.