Source of Madnessby Aethyna May 13, 2022 | 1 Votes | 64 Played | 0 Reviews
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Featuring gorgeously-monstrous, Lovecraftian-inspired art and style, Source of Madness is a 2D action roguelite where you play as a new cult member of the Cult of Knowledge. Your goal is to venture off into the world infested with these cosmic horrors, and battle them as you brute-force your way to the source of all this madness! The game comes with plenty of interesting upgrades, abilities, and weapons; procedurally-generated runs, bosses to defeat, and lots of secret areas to find.
You’re a part of a mass of refugees streaming in from the Loam Lands to escape the cosmic horrors that have somehow taken over the place. Unlike the refugees who wallow in their despair though, you decided to do something about it and join the Cult of Knowledge.
The goal of the cult is fairly vague I’d say but I reckon it’s to catalogue the monstrosities roaming outside the walls and to track down the source of all of this madness!
If you’ve played any 2D roguelite or even Metroidvanias before, you should feel fairly at home here. There are lots of fun to be had jumping from platform to platform, battling monsters, and finding secret areas along the way. The secret areas usually contain loot chests or a bunch of creatures that you’ll have to first defeat for the loot chest to spawn. On rare occasions, you might stumble upon a boss-like creature that will reward you with the even more precious currency, the Evenstar.
In terms of combat, the game offers many ways for you take on these Lovecraftian horrors, depending on your own play style. You can get up close and melee them with a ring that generates an arcane sword, or you can tackle them from afar using a variety of elements like fireballs, occult magics, or lightning bolts. All of this depends on which ring you have on.
Besides rings, there are extra items that you can equip to get additional abilities, such as being able to summon arcane guardians or boost your damage for a short period of time, or stats like resistances to certain damage, damage boosts, or even life boosts. Like any good cultist, you also have a hood on, however, you can also get some extra precious stats by having a good hood.
As you play, you’ll get to unlock new classes, like the Pyromancer. Similar to the starter class, the Generalists, these new classes have their own unique perks as well.
Each zone in this game comes with its own unique atmosphere and style. Every level you play is procedurally generated so it should make each run feels completely different. That being said, I’ve encountered very similar copy-and-paste layouts within the same zone for the second and third zones, namely the Caves of Lost Soul and the Forest of Lies, so it’s still possible for you to feel déjà vu when traversing these zones.
Although you can’t save while in the midst of a run, there are save points in between zones. Boss levels are located in between normal levels and not within a zone itself, but you aren’t given a heads-up that the next level you are heading into is a boss level, so there’s a bit of shock especially when I was thrown headfirst into a boss fight without me expecting it.
I’ve played the game using the keyboard and mouse, and the controls here are incredibly smooth. The only qualm I have is the fact that choosing an angle for an upward dash feels awkward. Oh, and here’s a tip for you: if you’re using the mouse, you can press both left and right mouse buttons to deal damage from both your weapons - Accidentally found this out about 2 hours into the game.
Personally, I think the game isn’t too hard. Don’t get me wrong - it’s challenging but as long as you can avoid getting hit by either the creatures or their many projectiles, you should be able to do quite fine. Of course, this is easier said than done especially with all those tentacles flailing about and projectiles being spewed from wherever the mouth parts on those monsters are. There are traps here and there as well but they are all pretty obvious, except if an enemy’s corpse is covering it somehow.
Now, what really makes Source of Madness stand out from the other roguelites out there is the fact that it uses the kind of floppy ragdoll physics that is showcased in games like Human: Fall Flat. Interestingly enough, the floppiness of the creatures here works really well to portray the many grotesque monsters in this Lovecraft-inspired world. After all, when you have too many arms, tentacles, legs, and miscellaneous appendages, it does make it a lot harder to move in what you’d think is a normal way. You can even blast their appendages off, one by one, though you’ll want to be careful as to not get yourself trapped in between those limbs.
If you’re a fan of Lovecraftian art, you’ll absolutely love this game! Every part of the game, form the monstrous creatures to the background, is simply oozing in style and captures the theme of the game perfectly. As mentioned, the ragdoll-like physics also add some creepiness to the creatures, especially when they all clamber up the cliff and make their way towards you… limbs and all.
The music here works well in the background. It’s unobtrusive and provides something for you to listen to as you make your way from one fight to the next.
Source of Madness is truly a Lovecraftian masterpiece! Besides setting the right amount of creepiness in its atmosphere and tone, the visuals and the art style here brings the nightmarish horrors to life. The gameplay is challenging enough without being overly so and varied enough thanks to the many weapons, abilities, classes and upgrades that you can eventually unlock. Plus, there are just so many secrets for you to find too. For fans of Lovecraftian roguelites, this is one hidden gem you don’t want to miss!