Withered Rooms Review – Gamereactor –

Withered Rooms Review – Gamereactor –

I've always been interested in seeing what games are released during the months of the year. It's essential when you play as much as I do to be able to plan for both time and wallet, although I usually get those factors out of the way and I pick up whatever looks interesting as soon as it's released. However, Withering Rooms completely passed me by, despite having been released via Early Access since late 2022. However, it's now scheduled for full release in a few days, and completely unaware of what kind of experience awaits me, I ended up at the Victorian mansion Mostyn House Take part in an aerial adventure.

The protagonist, Nightingale, wakes up trapped in a dream and must try to find her way out and solve the palace's mysteries. I'll honestly admit that the first impression wasn't the best, because in many ways this horror adventure offers things that feel a bit “cheap”. Both the main character animation and the first voice acting I heard gave a fairly poor impression, but thankfully the atmosphere comes closer and saves that first impression. At least a little. At first, I thought you just wanted to hide from the creepy characters in the mansion. You can hide behind, under and in various pieces of furniture and other objects and wait for them to pass by or turn their backs. Right from the beginning this is also a necessity for survival, but soon Nightingale equips herself with different weapons, discovers the possibility of making magic and can produce other tools to kill all kinds of monsters and other things that stand in her way. Killing also becomes something to do as different types of body parts need to be collected for different reasons, both to craft items but also to progress through the slow-moving story. The game has a pretty good selection of horrors to fight, and it's always fun to discover a new enemy and see their unique design.

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One item you quickly realize takes up a lot of space is that it's rogue-like in nature. Every time you “die” and wake up again, the palace changes and you lose your items, although this can be partially prevented. I don't really know how I feel about this specific feature in this adventure. For me, this is usually just something that's frustrating if it's not a title where you're doing classic “Dungeon” runs. Here it becomes more of a “back to the beginning” moment that feels more annoying than anything else. However, it does create a little caveat about not wanting to die, something you might not have cared much about otherwise. Over time, you can also choose different items that you want to remember, so that you have them when you wake up again. So I think losing their items and having to search for them again could still work. What's worse is that the palace is changing. A big part of the magic of exploration is that I get to know where I find myself. Here, that magic disappears as the locations change, and although there's a handy map that you can tap on the screen as you play, the design of the mansion and its surroundings is also a bit messy, as you can't see what the rooms and surroundings look like. Other things hang together. There are many hidden passages and stairs leading to other floors, and it is difficult to get a good overview of them all. Additionally, it's largely based on a long corridor that leads to a series of smaller rooms, so you can go in and out of doors as you explore.

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Withering rooms

As you explore the mansion, you meet many strange characters, and this is also where I find one of the biggest charms of the game. The different rooms are quite small, which is a shame, I would have liked to see a more cohesive screen to explore rather than having to go in and out of smaller rooms all the time. But the design and atmosphere are good, and it's a real pleasure to explore every corner and discover everything there is. But as I said, I think it's a bit of a shame that the rooms weren't a little bigger and that the palace didn't feel more cohesive, and the fact that it changes after every night also means that it doesn't get the character it could have. When you sort of learn the layout and then it changes, it becomes more annoying to have to re-find certain specific rooms than to figure out where things are in relation to each other. Or the map was updated with what you explored when you started a new dream. It would have worked better in my opinion.

I mentioned earlier that Nightingale can defend herself, and in addition to the various weapons and magic, there's also a slightly simpler role-playing system with leveling up, and different types of equipment and tools you can find that help you against different things like being poisoned. . A rather unique feature is a type of curse that can come upon you and then change different things in the house as you become stronger. It's a fun little item that adds to the pile of unique things Withering Rooms still has to offer. Because even though the game seems a bit simple in execution, it still offers a number of things that work very well. Some of the puzzles are quite challenging and I also quite like the tension and atmosphere here. There's also a surprising number of places to visit, and while Withering Rooms isn't particularly scary, although the visual style and evocative soundtrack add to the eerie feeling, it's mostly comforting. Some elements look like something straight out of a nightmare, but they never scare you. There are some really strange rooms and enemies, but the perspective and graphics make it look a little creepy, if nothing else. However, I don't think this is a particular flaw, as games like Little Nightmares also have more of that cozy creepy feel, where it's the design of certain characters that feels a bit nightmarish.

Withering rooms

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Overall, Withering Rooms manages to have a good atmosphere, but behind that there are also some elements that unfortunately seem a little too simple. There's a lot of running in and out of rooms that don't offer more than a few enemies and items to find, and the game's best puzzles and other quirks appear very rarely. I also don't like the fact that every time I open a large part of the map and die, I have to go back to several rooms to find items. Personally, I would have preferred a better context for the palace that could be explored little by little rather than being reset. Despite these weaknesses, it's an adventure with some unique elements, and if you're looking for something in the horror genre, although more atmospherically comfortable than something horror, there are definitely some highlights that make it worth experiencing.

Dalila Awolowo

Dalila Awolowo

"Explorer. Unapologetic entrepreneur. Alcohol fanatic. Certified writer. Wannabe tv evangelist. Twitter fanatic. Student. Web scholar. Travel buff."

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