Miasmata Review

Survival in the woods is a creepy, fun challenge full of botanical terror in Miasmata.

by

When you're plague-stricken, weak from dehydration, and lost at night amid a thick copse of trees on a deserted island mountaintop, the last thing you want to hear is the sound of a hungry creature stalking you from just beyond the reach of your torchlight. The way Miasmata pushes your survival instincts to the brink as you struggle to persevere against sickness, nature, and the elements evokes a certain primal energy. You're frail, alone, and in constant danger of being overtaken by the treacherous beauty of your natural surroundings. Every little breakthrough feels like a major victory. Every stumble has the potential to set you back catastrophically. It's the constant give and take that makes the struggle to stay alive in this intense first-person adventure so gratifying.

Infected with a fatal disease and cast into exile, you begin Miasmata washed up on the shores of the desolate island of Eden. Given your lack of food, water, or medicine, your situation seems bleak, but stumbling into a nearby abandoned settlement with remnants of a makeshift research facility offers a glimmer of hope. You're left largely to your own devices, and the bigger picture of what happened to the island and the scientific researchers there slowly comes into focus as you forage deeper into the island's heavily wooded, mountainous terrain. The underlying objective might be to push toward finding a permanent cure for your ailment in order to escape the isle alive, but the thrill of setting off into the unknown to explore is just as alluring.

Eden's landscape is lovely to look at, but the unforgiving terrain makes for some harsh travel, particularly when your symptoms manifest. You're free to go just about anywhere you choose in this open landscape, though your ailing health limits how far you can go without stopping to recover. Your frail condition is an omnipresent concern that makes getting around both precarious and more interesting. As you move along the terrain, realistic physics make it possible for you to slip and tumble end-over-end from steep slopes, which is a disorienting prospect that sends any items you're carrying flying in all directions. As you get sicker, it becomes harder to climb over steep terrain, and you run out of breath far more easily. Managing your illness is so central a mechanic that it almost becomes a foe you're constantly battling. It adds a lot of great tension to the experience in a way that makes every small bit of progress all the more rewarding.

Nature is absolutely beautiful here.
Without regular doses of medicine, fever and fatigue soon set in, causing your vision to blur and your mobility to decrease. If your illness is left untreated, you're far more prone to collapsing altogether. Thankfully, certain combinations of flowers and fungi yield different remedies that can temporarily quell your sickness or boost your senses. Hunting for rare plants isn't the most pulse-pounding pursuit, but it's satisfying to find what you need to stockpile enough meds to push further into the woods where danger and discovery await.

Mapping out the island and its numerous outposts is equally as important as scavenging, identifying, and using local plant life to create medicines to keep you alive. For better or worse, cartography is a very hands-on process in Miasmata that eschews auto-mapping in favor of manual use of a compass and line of sight to pinpoint your location on your map. Fragmented charts fill in some of the gaps to give you known locations to cross-reference, but it can be frustrating when you venture off course and can't plot your location because there aren't any identified landmarks in sight. Still, there's a ton to explore and map out. Dealing with mapmaking duties can be a tad tedious when you're focused on other pursuits, like simply staying alive long enough to reach shelter. Fortunately, it doesn't significantly hamper the already slow, deliberate pace of the adventure.

Remote camps linked by trails snaking around the island offer sporadic refuge: a means to rest, save the game, refresh your water supply, research new plants you encounter, and make medicine. Even with these occasional safe havens to help you, becoming lost is an ever-present concern. It happens often, since the trails split, branch off, and then disappear at frequent intervals. When night falls, this can be panic inducing, but the eerie, demonic tigerlike beast that prowls the island also ensures that any moment in your journey could turn into a full-scale freak-out as you dash blindly in terror to escape its maw. This unruly beast announces its presence by a quickening heartbeat sound, and it makes no bones about stalking you for long distances.

Argh! Wrists aren't supposed to bend that way!

When you're too weak to run, frantic moments of awkward combat against this hypnotic beast have you hurling rocks, knives, axes, frying pans, and torches at it to temporarily scare it off. Your defenses are often agonizingly ineffective. Though combat is downplayed heavily, the fact that it lacks any real weight still makes it feel oddly tacked on. Other areas are similarly underdeveloped. Nature is beautifully re-created here, with storm clouds moving in, wildlife darting through the bushes, and brilliant sunlight glinting off the water. In contrast, animations for your arm movements are rough, and getting a closer look at most objects reveals a lack of detail. Though minor, these issues do detract slightly from the realistic vibe of the gameplay.

Like a nature walk gone horribly awry, Miasmata juxtaposes wonder and discovery with paranoia and terror. It's surprisingly relaxing at times and unsettling at others. The unpredictability of your quest to stay alive certainly has its ups and downs, but rough edges can't blunt the intensity of this fascinating survivalist journey.

The Good
Exploration and survival feel fresh and unique
Beautiful environments and atmosphere
Adventure is interesting even with little narrative or character interaction
The Bad
Monster encounters are awkwardly implemented
Some weak visual elements
7.5
Good
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61 comments
GameYakuza
GameYakuza

I try to keep an open mind about games, and admit there's a kind of game for everyone, but I played it for a few hours and felt like I had to put it down. the game mechanics are truly innovative but become incredibly tedious, and the game does nothing to make it interesting: no story, no music, no dialogs, no variety... it's totally possible to wander for hours for nothing in repetitive environments, which honestly don't look so good from close... the entire game boils down to collecting plants.

iowastate
iowastate

if you have ever had to deal with the after effects of  head trauma and or vertigo then you will appreciate this game.

at least it just has the flavour of being weak-kneed and I hope you never have to live througth that feeling in real life.

darkalter2000
darkalter2000

This game is ridiculously innovative for two dudes making it. I don't think I've ever seen a game that you move in such a human way. Steep hill? Careful not to fall, backpedal a bit as you go down. Running fast? Watch were you're going, you can't stop on a dime. You are a sick person? You don't have the endurance of an action hero (but at least you don't have a tiny bar that drains too fast). Taking concussion after concussion? You are a human, push it and die.

Awesome.

Atermi
Atermi

The Life of Pi with alchemy.

jcis44
jcis44

Take the quiet, surreal worlds of Myst with a far more scientifically-minded version of the alchemy systems of The Elder Scrolls series and the unpredictable stalking terror of Amnesia and free cult favorite Slender, with a dash of its own hardcore survivalist mechanics thrown in. At first glance it’s a strange concoction, but it works exceedingly well.

LJMStrike
LJMStrike

This game sounds very interesting. Shame my pc is no more as I would give this a go.

MagicSoupDragon
MagicSoupDragon

This review is pretty spot on, if you like exploring this is a fantastic game.

The music of the game is great though and didn't get a mention here; it's a really nice supplement to the exploration of the island.


Gandaleon
Gandaleon

This is a great concept.

I know there are MODS for Skyrim that implement features of survival. But making a whole game revolve about survival is a fantastic idea. MGS - Snake Eater had some survival elements as well.If you need nutrients, water and warmth to stay alive and if your character is not an immortal warrior but a frail creature (which is much more realistic - no normal human being would stand any kind of chance against a bear without a gun). Mapping an island, creating tools and building a shelter.

I'm interested in this game just for the idea, but I'd love it if a bigger developer would pick up on that premise.

Amorphis2k
Amorphis2k

From the way the hands look in the gameplay video this looks more like a zombie first person survivor game than anything else. Despite my criticisms I will probably give this one a go.

PinchySkree
PinchySkree

Tricordrazine? Like from Star Trek right?

 

Oh and

 

SuperMassive20is now playingThe Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

Huskypaw
Huskypaw

Looks clearly intradasting!

smoothyplum26
smoothyplum26

Um, Looks cool but what platforms is this on? I read through the review and saw no mention of this. Since this was posted on the main page it should be listed right at the top what platform or platforms this is on.

Tiesto05
Tiesto05

Reminds me of Trespasser...

franzito
franzito

Wow, a survival with no horror (at least not graphical, imagetic one)

BlueRaptor7
BlueRaptor7

"Adventure is interesting even with little narrative or character interaction."

 

And Dark Souls didn't show us this was possible...?

 

Sounds like the editor deems narrative and character interaction a requirement for an interesting adventure. 

KaSeRRoR
KaSeRRoR

Looks kinda boring from what I saw...

>=)

stholia
stholia

What is its Engine? Seems like Dunia 2.

Goddammitj
Goddammitj

Anyone else cringe at the hand gestures? Eugh. I feel bad seeing them for some reason.

vishisluv7
vishisluv7

I'm intrigued. Just from watching the video before reading the text, I was thinking "why is the character having such trouble walking, looks sick", ha.

The odd low res texture is pretty glaring (blood/rocks), but the game play itself looks unique.

$15 right now on steam.

GetafixOz
GetafixOz

Definately gonna play this but I think Im more excited by the modding prospects.

BuBsay
BuBsay

I always enjoy the people who complain when they're favorite games get less than a 9.5.

 

If you want an example of a brilliant, original and fun game at only a 7.5 then here ya go.

3v1LR0n1N
3v1LR0n1N

I still can't believe 2 guys made this game :D

jookiyaya
jookiyaya

How innovative, it's like Arma 2 + Skyrim but with the graphics of Oblivion and if that improves to Unreal Engine 4 or Frostbite 2 technology with GTA 4 or 5 sandbox capability it's a shoe in winner! ^^

Timeslice
Timeslice

@jcis44 Everything you said here is true, except for your use of the word 'hardcore'. If you ARE interested in hardcore survival then try Notrium, UnReal World, or Stranded 2.

estugarda
estugarda

 @Tiesto05

That's what I wanted to say. Look slike those awkward but charming weapon handling from Tresspasser. I used to really love that game, and I could never understand why everybody hated it so much. If this is anything like Tresspasser, in terms of free roam and interactivity, it is great. I could live withouth the ton of bugs and glitches though.

Mellowcow
Mellowcow

 @CivilizedPsycho It's an accomplishment that two people made it and an accomplishment that two brothers get along. XD

Wahab_MinSeo
Wahab_MinSeo

 @Voice_of_Wisdom

 Are you Kidding?Far Cry 3 , Well i don't want to much i say go play them both and take focus compare & you will know Far Cry 3 is better cause there are also Multiplayer & Coop.

Arda_Daghan212
Arda_Daghan212

 @Voice_of_Wisdom Ummm, what--how can you compare them??? Even if it was the same category (can't see how they could be) it's FAR CRY 3! I mean, wtf...

IAMTYLERDURDEN
IAMTYLERDURDEN

 @Voice_of_Wisdom What makes this game better than Far Cry 3? Not taking anything away from this game but when you make a statement like that you need to back it up with some facts.

Amorphis2k
Amorphis2k

 @vishisluv7

 $15 now on steam. Give it a week and it will end up like I Am Alive - AUD$5.80

eoin
eoin

@Wahab_MinSeo Multiplayer +coop =Better game regardless of content. You are a fucking dummy and probably incapable of wiping your ass without coop.

Wahab_MinSeo
Wahab_MinSeo

 @eoin  Sorry my friend you like , you like Miasmatabut I Like Far Cry 3 & im Far Cry Player since 2004 and i sill can back to Far cry 1 & 2 again but this game notJust you might feel good for now & in the future you will feel boring after finish it much more!

 

Miasmata More Info

First Release on Nov 28, 2012
  • PC
Miasmata is a first-person survival/adventure game about a plague-stricken scientist who is on a journey to discover a cure.
6.6
Average User RatingOut of 81 User Ratings
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Developed by:
IonFX
Published by:
IonFX
Genres:
3D, Adventure, First-Person