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Publisher: Zoetrope Interactive
Developer: Team Ninja
Players: 1
Genre: Horror
Launch Date: February 2019
Price:  $19.99 or £16.99

Horror games, These games have never been my cup of tea. I can see why people would get into them, but the subject matter has never gotten me excited in any way whatsoever. Let me put it this way, I have never been a follower of H.P. Lovecraft, but I do feel you need to have a love of his prose to fully get the most out of this game. I went into this as a complete newbie and hoped for the best.

Gameplay 4/10
I truly didn’t feel anything from this. You play an Antarctic scientist called Frank who is marooned on his own, wondering where all of his colleagues have gone. Whilst he searches for his pals, he comes across a whole new adventure involving plants, monsters, golems and poison ivy, which I’ll come back to later. It is such a predictable way to tell a story in the genre of horror. There’s a feeling of a link towards John Carpenter’s movie, The Thing, albeit with a Lovecraftian vibe about it.

Once you start getting through the game you start to come across the same routine done time after time. You’ll search for something to use on an object, maybe grab a collectible or two whilst doing it, get stopped by a spirit or monster trying to attack you and then the stupidly annoying poison ivy. The ivy becomes a genuine annoyance, as it is saturated in the later levels and starts to reek of laziness in the game development. You may feel less aggrieved if you’re into the folklore, but for me I just got bored easily.


Conarium is a very visually appealing title, full of atmosphere



Graphics - 6/10

The Unreal Engine does a good job in some places and shows what it can do, especially near the end. OK, there are some moments where it has sections that don’t look as good as the rest of it, like the character figures for example, but if you can get your head past that then you’ll be fine.

The thing is though, for all the nice way the graphics look, they need to be varied enough to really get yourself thinking your eyes are getting maximum enjoyment. Conarium doesn’t really give you that and again the laziness thought can begin to enter your head. It isn’t that the game looks bad, it just isn’t varied enough and I don’t get why this is the case, especially considering where the game is based and where it goes. There’s only so much a torch and an axe can get you through. What it feels like on a graphical basis is like a diet version of Skyrim. You almost feel like it could be a BETA for Elder Scrolls Online, but then you’d need it to be a lot bigger than what it is.


Sound - 5/10

The voice acting is absolutely horrendous and is quite simply some of the worst I’ve heard. It is just so cringeworthy and doesn’t give me any enjoyment. It is that horrible kind of American voiced fake British accent that most people cannot stand. Think of it as a drunk Peter Dinklage in Game of Thrones and you have a rough idea. The music is practically non-existent as well. There are the odd moments where the atmosphere does come together well, but they are so few and far between that you won’t get excited any time soon.


You know you may be in trouble when one item of your kit, is straight outta compton


Difficulty - 5/10

Everything is pretty manageable quickly enough and I had the game finished on a wet Sunday morning and thought nothing of it. It does have a Farcry feel to it because there are multiple endings, but it isn’t as extravagant as the Ubisoft series. You’re not really going to want to play it again either, so the replay value is out. As I said earlier, the method of getting through the game is almost like it’s on a treadmill. You solve a puzzle, move a bit further, get scared a bit and then move through some poisonous plant life. Then you just go on that road all the way through for about three hours. If that is your bag though, fair play to you.


Achievements – 6/10

Not a lot to go on, but also not too hard to get a whack of them. Just play on through the game and they’ll keep coming as you do so. There are the odd ones to get using puzzles and completing them first time, but will you really get through the game multiple times to scrape the gamerscore up a bit?


Summary

This is not a game I’ll be going back to. If you are a fan of Lovecraft though, you might do. I can’t be super harsh about it because it isn’t a subject matter that I’m a big fan of. I usually stay away from horror, but when you have to do it, you have to do it.

The score then is reflected on the game itself. It doesn’t do ANYTHING special. The graphics are good in some places, but not in others. The sound is awful in most parts, but can sometimes get it right, and the less said about the puzzling sections, the better. The boredom can cling onto you very quickly and that is a major issue. If it hits you before you even get the lift working then you’re in trouble, as you may not get back your momentum.

Conarium is a classic average game. You won’t remember much about it after you’ve seen the ending, you may forget most of it because you can’t be bothered to REACH the ending, but as I said from the very beginning, I’m not a Lovecraft fan. I did skip most of the story because it bored me, but this may be your bag and I’m not going to argue about something when I don’t really have knowledge on it. I just didn’t feel it and if I played it again, I’d be the exact same.

One thing I can say is that as much as this review is based on Lovecraft, it wasn’t crafted with love, that’s for sure.


Final Score 6/10
 

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