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Game Guys review - Montague's Mount

9:17 PM, Oct 12, 2013   |    comments
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  • 'Montague's Mount', a horror-genre computer game developed by Mastertronic.
  • 'Montague's Mount', a horror-genre computer game developed by Mastertronic.
    

Proving that horror-genre games don't need gruesome zombies or bloodthirsty vampires to effectively convey scares, developer Mastertronic releases Montague's Mount: an atmospheric adventure set on a desolate Irish isle.  Ripe with potential about a journey into the depths of a broken man's mind, this unrefined game is more molehill than mountain.

Upon the game's onset, players find themselves recovering from being washed ashore a mysterious island after an apparent shipwreck.  Questions such as "Who am I" and "Where am I" immediately set in and the player is immediately drawn into the game.  It's such a strong start, it's a shame that the answer to both becomes "Who cares" after only a moderate amount of minimalistic gameplay.  Part of the problem is what the game has players do, but the biggest issue are monologues that seemed ripped from a high schooler's notebook.

For how bad the writing is on its own, the game is even more disappointing when it attempts to convey emotion (usually a laughable presentation of fear and foreboding) without words.  Slow cinematic coupled with low-res graphics - of which there are plenty - and underwhelming piano melodies distract rather than draw in the player.

On the upside, the presentation goes quite well with the gameplay.  With a (un)healthy amount of sorted puzzles and riddles - very few of which are well fleshed-out - the slow-moving gameplay is as frustrating as it can be stylish.  Stylish in that the slow movements of the player works perfectly with the game's grainy, nearly black-and-white visual presentation.  Unfortunately, it's that way to a fault.  A fact that's painfully evident should the player forget a physical piece to a puzzle or a note providing a hint along the linear way.  When that occurs, players will find themselves backtracking at a snail's pace for that missed detail - a journey rarely pleasant.  Oh, who am I kidding?  It's not.  Ever.

As for those pesky puzzles, they come in one of two varieties.  Players will find themselves either seeking one item to make another work (ie: can of gasoline to fill a generator) or finding a solution to a sometimes rather roundabout riddle.  While the variety might be lacking, it's really the arbitrary rules set in place by the developers that really kill the whole shebang.  There are times in the game where there's plenty of a certain resource available that *could* solve one of the puzzles, but a specific one is necessary (read: coded) in order to succeed.  Why a specific one or few and not the whole batch?  It just makes no sense.  It's almost like the devs "Myst" the point.

All-in-all, Montague's Mount seems more like an unfinished project than a finished game.  It's lacking in quality, depth, and the follow-through that other titles (admittedly those with presumably larger budgets) and the issues it has are exasperated due to the game's slow pace.  Is Montague's Mount a good game?  Not hardly.  Sadly, with some refinement and extra effort, it could have been.

GAMEPLAY: PRESENTATION: STORY: REPLAYABILITY: QUALITY: FINAL SCORE:
16/25 08/25 15/25 10/25 13/25 54/100

Version tested: PC

(Polypusher Studios supplied a copy of this game for review.)

See how what our review scores mean and how the math adds up.

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