The narrative-driven point and click adventure experience from Owl Cave and Mastertronic split into three episodes together at last, but is it worth the hype?
In this masterfully written, interactive adventure a mysterious turn of events lead players down a winding path of exploration and creepy horror. Tongue and cheek jokes about things like almost finding “a ten foot extendable ladder” in a lamp shade referencing the sometimes unrealistic moments in point and click adventure inventory management are a good twist on the genre. But it’s not all fun and games as an eerie atmosphere continually signals players that things are not what they appear, and something is indeed very wrong with the perception of reality characters have. It appears to be getting exceedingly worse.
The past, memories, experiences of characters backstories are revisited and startling revelations about horrible things will make their mark on the game as according to what fate has dealt. Inhale, Sepulchre, and Exhale are the three chapters of the trilogy. The first of which takes place in what appears to be a more sane environment and introduces Alex Davenport the main protagonist.
After working to get on to an archeological trip leaving the past behind with the second main character, a colleague Doctor Harold Lang, events begin to spiral out of control and safety deteriorates just as quickly as they begin aboard a train of strange significance to the spirit world for lack of better terms. Or perhaps it’s all in the mind? The third episode sees Alex Davenport provided as main protagonist role again and it all starts to make sense. Another entry to this franchise is expected some time next year, although the wait will be killing us all.
Actually, it’s really not.
Voice acting is of a high quality and to a well written story. Many voices are recognizable, not least of which is video games YouTuber Jim Sterling, but he actually plays his character quite well and his voice blends in with the mood of the game’s scenes perfectly. Graphically the game is of a low resolution but the pixel art is astoundingly precise. Characters and environments are convincing, and after the few hours of a first playthrough the scenes still look interesting.
During the story segments of the game there’s a fair amount of stuff to do, but gameplay is being built up by the minute and it would be great to see two, three, or even four more chapters of this game eventually release. Steam Achievements will have you playing it once or twice more over to get all the possible combinations of content, but Controller Support is noticeably absent from the launch release of this game. Steam Trading Cards and a lower asking price to well to make up for this though.
A great start to what could easily end up being a bigger game series down the road. For a cheap price, get to experience some excellent pixel art and voice acting to a great soundtrack and well written story development. Insanity and a personal interpretation are part of the way this game is meant to be received, so make of it what you will. Just as the action gets built up to the point of gameplay mechanics opening up more the game leaves us on a cliffhanger. But it’d be a shame to miss out on The Charnel House Trilogy all the same.
Overall Score: 8 / 10
RGN Rating: Silver Game
Available On: Windows PC
Buy From: Steam (Officially Authorized by Game’s Dev / Publishers)
Played On: Windows PC
Review Copy Info: A digital copy of this game was provided to RealGamerNewz for the purpose of this Review.