Miasmata Review – Redefining The Indie Genre
Steam Greenlight has paved the way for some great indie games, one of the latest being the innovative Miasmata. Promising high-quality graphics and a unique survival experience at the low price of $20, can the 2-man development team provide a title worthy of your collection or does Miasmata fall off the radar?
The basic concept of Miasmata is very simple, survival. However it doesn’t deliver the survival element in the typical way, in fact guns and weapons hardly come into play at all. You take on the role of a stranded scientist, Robert Hughes, inflicted with a plague and only the resources of the environment to aid your recovery. You begin the game with very little information regarding the cure, or how you ended up on the island in the first place
Miasmata Review – Redefining The Indie GenreYou spend the majority of your time exploring the island collecting various fauna and fora which you can use to create a number of medicines and injections. The main objective at the beginning of the adventure is to gather plants to create Basic Medicine, tablets that help to relieve the systems brought on by the plague. You can create a variety of items, each of which will aid you adventure in some way or another. Medicines help you explore distant areas without the need to rest while injections can permanently increase your strength level or awareness, allowing you to run further, swim faster and detect the presence of “The Creature”.
During my initial exploration of Miasmata I couldn’t help but be impressed at the luscious environment and high attention to detail in the graphics. The water is almost lifelike and the sounds combine perfectly with the graphics to provide a truly immersive game world. From the trampling of heavy underbrush underfoot to the gentle clashing of pebbles as you walk down the beach, every sound is meticulous. If I had to describe Miasmata with a single word, it would be immersion. Maybe it’s my age or the fact games don’t seem to be made like they used to, but I rarely find a game that has every inch of my attention.
Even the characters movement is immersive. Rather than just running around exploring, the actions and movements of Robert Hughes are influenced by the environment. If you start running down a hill at full pace you can trip, roll a dozen times and end up in a pool of water at the bottom. This system is complimented by the first-person perspective, watching yourself tumble helplessly down a hill provides a feeling of helplessness that really adds to the immersion within the game. If you threw a regular FPS movement mechanic at me I couldn’t really suggest any way to improve it, however Miasmata offers a new depth of character control.
The heart-pounding background noise creates suspense in a way I never expected. Miasmata has introduced me to a fear aspect that I’ve not really considered before, broad daylight. Despite the fact I was walking through a luscious woodland, the sun gently caressing the leaves as it shone through the heavy over-brush and small forest animals scurrying around me, I was terrified. And that was before the fearsome beast showed its face. After a brief introduction and a very sudden death, I was determined to avoid the beast at all costs. This restricted my progression a little as I found myself retreating as soon as the heart-pounding sound effect came into play.
Although the experience is a fruitful one Miasmata falls short in terms of replayability. There’s nothing in regards to multiplayer, additional modes or alternate paths. However, to find all that in a game of this type would probably retract from the overall experience. It’s a breath of fresh air to see an indie developer pushing the envelope, usually an area left to bigger budget studios.
We don’t usually push purchases with our reviews but I urge anyone that’s interested in game innovation to give Miasamata a look. Check out the videos and screenshots on Steam, if it’s something you’ll enjoy pick it up.