Review: The Morgue Fissure Between Worlds – Chapter One (Steam)

Welcome to creepy. These show up at random places throughout the game, and can actually be a bit jarring when you turn a corner only to find one of these statues staring back at you. Please note also the glowing object on the ground. That is a box of matches. You will find many, many of these throughout the game.

Match to Torch Simulator 2017

The Morgue Fissure Between Worlds was in a bundle I bought recently (currently running at the time of this review on Indie Gala), and so it came across the ethereal surface of my existential desk as a result. It looked creepy enough and reportedly was a short first chapter in what should be a three chapter affair. This is a game crafted by one person, Zoltok’s (yes, the possessive is intentional in the name and is how he has it listed on Steam), who definitely has a love for fantasy and psychological horror, if his YouTube page and game design are any indications. So, how did this game stack up?

Story
Elder Scrolls?

The story for The Morgue Fissure Between Worlds, as of right now, is a bit indistinct. You simply start off in a room and begin exploring the place you find yourself in. As you explore, you find a few notes which offer snippets of story. It seems there was some sort of rebellion, of which you are part of the losing faction, but all hope is not lost. Some answer to your hopes lies below the mansion (or monastery, or whatever it is) and you are to find your way to what seems like the organizer of head of your cult. Something like that. So far, the story hasn’t really developed although you are clearly dealing with something sinister. Despite this fact, it was still pretty interesting and made me interested in seeing where it will go from here. I expect the story be revealed further in the next chapter.

6 out of 10

Gameplay
This was one of the cooler puzzles in the game (technically, two puzzles). No spoiler though. You definitely have no idea what the puzzle is by simply gazing upon this cool looking scene.

The gameplay is typical of lo-fi walking simulator-esque horror games, in that you basically explore the building, solving puzzles which unlock more areas, and reading story sheets (in this case in some very fine flowing cursive). Oh…and you pick up a lot of tinder (matches) which you will use to light a lot of torches and candelabras. A lot. You will however start to feel grateful for the copious torches, as they offer some comfort in what is arguably a completely creepy and sinister place. In the interest of full disclosure, there is in fact a monster. The foreboding leading up to its reveal was pretty well done as well. As a gameplay mechanic, the building of tension was very effective.

What secrets lie within these locked volumes?

Initially, I tried to use a gamepad, but no control was mapped to the right analog, so I quickly reverted to k/m.

I also almost forgot to mention because you get used to it while playing, but the cursor is currently a tiny gray dot. While this has no actual impact while playing (since anything you would interact with replaces the cursor with a hand icon), on the start menu this was quite troublesome. It wasn’t immediately apparent how to even start the game since you probably won’t even realize there IS a cursor on the screen. Fortunately, somebody in the game’s Steam discussion forum already figured it out, so it was a quick reference to get going.

7 out of 10

Graphics

The graphics in The Morgue Fissure Between Worlds were very effective in creating and sustaining a building sense of dread and tension. Although the graphics seem like stock Unity fare, they were done well, and although nothing even close to modern, the developer took something basic and created a nice looking game out of it. Creepy as hell, but nice.

7.5 out of 10

Audio
Ummm…that looks a bit foreboding….

Overall, I don’t really recall my thoughts about the audio in The Morgue Fissure Between Worlds as a whole. However, that really isn’t a knock. There was a persistent, almost malevolent sound and music running in the background which again was very effective in conveying a sense of building dread and fear.

However, the monster’s reveal was preceded by the sound of its release, and you have no doubt at the point where you hear this that you are probably going to die. The fact that at that time, you are also splashing noisily around a flooded cellar did nothing to ease the growing sense of disquiet you are feeling while playing.

7 out of 10

Verdict
I see you…

While The Morgue Fissure Between Worlds isn’t a perfect game in any way, it does make efficient use of what is almost certainly a non existent budget and really focuses on creating atmosphere and solid gameplay that stays within itself. Rather than take everything to extremes, the developer instead chose to work on a low budget game built around perfecting an idea. I applaud the effort. This first chapter took right at a half hour to complete, which I thought was perfect for the experience.

This actually seemed more a promise of things to come in chapter two.
My initial ratings averaged out to 6.625 for this game. However, I am gave it a little boost due to the effort involved in using less to create more. 6.9 out of 10. Would light torches in creepy hallways again (and will be looking forward to chapter two)
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