Decay: The Mare

Point-and-click adventures have always been fun to play. They were made popular during the 16-bit era with Lucas Arts developing its famous SCUMMV engine that made great games like Monkey Island possible. Now in recent years there have seen a revival of this genre and there has been some great games from indie developers. The latest addition to the market is Decay: The Mare, which was originally a mobile game now ported to PC. So let us take a deeper look at this below.

Developer: Shiny Gate Software
Publisher: Daedalic Entertainment
Genre: Adventure, Indie
Release Date: 13 February 2015

CPU: Intel i3 3 Ghz / AMD Equivalent
VGA: Nividia Geforce 205 / AMD Equivalent
RAM: 2 GB
HDD: 2.1 GB
DirectX: 9.0c

Thanks to the publishers for the review copy.

Decay: the Mare is a point-and-click adventure from Shiny Gate Software which has a very 90’s feel to it. In this psychological horror you play Sam, a drug addict who is committed to a sort of rehabilitation clinic called ‘Reaching Dreams’. Hoping that he can get cured and get his life back on track, his first night at his new residence doesn’t go quite to plan. After taking his medication as instructed he finds himself stuck in an endless nightmare. From now on Sam is on his own as he must navigate the clinic and while doing so he encounters various mysteries that need to be solved if he ever wants to get out alive.

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You progress seeing the environment through the eyes of the main character. Most of the scenes are static and plays like a HyperCard Stack. On the screen you see arrows towards the edge that you must click with the pointer to move and explore the room. If you need to interact with an object your arrow will show a magnifying glass. Clicking on an object is mainly for the purpose of either examining or picking up. In order to progress through the chapters you must solve a series of puzzles. These are pretty difficult and the learning curve is steep. This style of hard-core action may put many newcomers to point-and-click off, but help is at hand thanks to a question mark icon to give you direction.

The game environment is quite mysterious and the combination of creepy music, noises and movement seen through windows plays a role. This creates an atmosphere that puts you on edge and when you are unable to complete a puzzle you worry that the thing you just seen might get you. It is clear that the game was initially released on mobile devices as the input scheme is very basic and made for touchscreen devices rather than keyboard/mouse. There are not a lot of reference points in the scene when interacting with your environment and this means that you can get lost quite easy when clicking the movement arrows or exiting a room.

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There are three episodes to this and I don’t want to go into too much detail about the plot and puzzles as I don’t like spoiling the game for anyone. There is about 2-3 hours of gameplay in this title which is not bad, but unfortunately there is nothing memorable after the credits come up to make you go wow and talking about it to your friends after. Visually the game is a bit of a disappointment. While the grainy, dark effect makes it atmospheric the textures are of a low resolution made for small screens. The sounds are also quite disappointing and don’t offer much to the experience. Also there is not much voice acting with the story mainly told via subtitles.

Final Thoughts 

Decay: The Mare is a good game but don’t offer the scary horror that you might be expecting. The biggest problem is that it is a port from mobiles and in my opinion this doesn’t fully work. Fans of point-and-click will find this won’t hold their attention for long. For the price it is worth a punt, but don’t expect to have your mind blown.

 


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